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Copyright  1923  Columbia  University  Press 
First  published  by  The  Macmillan  Company  1923 

ISBN  0-231-08795-0 
Manufactured  in  the  United  States  of  America 
10  9  8  7 




35.  The  Early  Scholastics:  Peter  Abelard  and  Hugh 

OF  St.  Victor 3 

36.  Adelard  of  Bath 14 

37.  William  of  Conches 50 

38.  Some   Twelfth    Century   Translators,    Chiefly    of 

Astrology  from  the  Arabic 66 

39.  Bernard  Silvester;  Astrology  and  Geomancy     .     .  99 

40.  Saint  Hildegard  of  Bingen 124 

41.  John  of  Salisbury 155 

42.  Daniel  of  Morley  and  Roger  of  Hereford  ....  171 

43.  Alexander  Neckam  on  the  Natures  of  Things    .     .  188 

44.  Moses  Maimonides 205 

45.  Hermetic  Books  in  the  Middle  Ages 214 

46.  Kiranides 229 

47.  Prester  John  and  the  Marvels  of  India     ....  "Z^^d 

48.  The  Pseudo-Aristotle 246 

49.  Solomon  and  the  Ars  Notoria 279 

50.  Ancient  and  Medieval  Dream-Books 290 


Foreword 305 

51.  Michael  Scot 307 

52.  William  of  Auvergne 338 

53.  Thomas  of  Cantimpre 372 

54.  Bartholomew  of  England 401 

55.  Robert  Grosseteste 436 

56.  Vincent  of  Beauvais 457 

57.  Early   Thirteenth    Century   Medicine:   Gilbert  of 

England  and  William  of  England 477 




58.  Petrus   Hispanus 488 

59.  Albertus  Magnus 517 

I.  Life 521 

II.  As  a  Scientist 528 

III,  His  Allusions  to  Magic 548 

IV.  Marvelous  Virtues  in  Nature 560 

V.  Attitude  Toward  Astrology 577 

60.  Thomas  Aquinas 593 

61.  Roger  Bacon 616 

I.  Life 619 

11.  Criticism  of  and  Part  in  Medieval  Learning     .  630 

III.  Experimental  Science 649 

IV.  Attitude  Toward  Magic  and  Astrology    .      .      .  659 

62.  The  Speculum  Astronomiae 692 

63.  Three  Treatises  Ascribed  to  Albert 720 

64.  Experiments  and  Secrets:  Medical  and  Biological  .  751 

65.  Experiments  AND  Secrets:  Chemical  AND  Magical    .  777 

66.  PiCATRix 813 

67.  GUIDO   BONATTI  AND   BARTHOLOMEW   OF  PaRMA      .        .        .  825 

68.  Arnald  OF  Villanova 841 

69.  Raymond  Lull 862 

70.  Peter  of  Abano 874 

71.  Cecco  d'Ascoli 948 

72.  Conclusion 969 


General 985 

Bibliographical 1007 

Manuscripts .      .      .  1027 





Chapter  35. 

"  37- 

"  38. 

"  39- 

"  40. 

"  41. 

"  42. 





The  Early  Scholastics :     Peter  Abelard  and 

Hugh  of  St.  Victor. 
Adelard  of  Bath. 
William  of  Conches. 
Some  Twelfth  Century  Translators,   chiefly 

of  Astrology  from  the  Arabic  in  Spain. 
Bernard  Silvester :  Astrology  and  Geomancy. 
St.  Hildegard  of  Bingen. 
John  of  Salisbury. 
Daniel  of  Morley  and  Roger  of  Hereford ;  or, 

Astrology  in  England  in  the  Second  Half 

of  the  Twelfth  Century. 
Alexander  Neckam  on  the  Natures  of  Things. 
Moses  Maimonides. 
Hermetic  Books  in  the  Middle  Ages. 

Prester  John  and  the  Marvels  of  India. 
The  Pseudo-Aristotle. 
Solomon  and  the  Ars  Notoria. 
Ancient  and  Medieval  Dream-Books. 




Relation  of  scholastic  theology  to  our  theme — Character  of  Abe- 
lard's  learning — Incorrect  statements  of  his  views — The  nature  of  the 
stars — Prediction  of  natural  and  contingent  events — The  Magi  and  the 
star — Demons  and  forces  in  nature — Magic  and  natural  science — Hugh 
of  St.  Victor — Character  of  the  Didascalicon — Meaning  of  Physica — 
The  study  of  history — The  two  mathematics :  astrology,  natural  and 
superstitious — The  superlunar  and  sublunar  worlds — Discussion  of 
magic — Five  sub-divisions  of  magic — De  bestiis  et  aliis  rebus. 

The  names  of  Peter  Abelard,  1079-1142,  and  Hugh  or 
Hugo  of  St.  Victor,  1096-1141,  have  been  coupled  as  those 
of  the  two  men  who  perhaps  more  than  any  others  were  the 
founders  of  scholastic  theology.  Our  investigation  is  not 
very  closely  or  directly  concerned  with  scholastic  theology, 
which  I  hope  to  show  did  not  so  exclusively  absorb  the  in- 
tellectual energy  of  the  twelfth  and  thirteenth  centuries  as 
has  sometimes  been  asserted.  Our  attention  will  be  mainly 
devoted  as  heretofore  to  the  pursuit  of  natural  science  during 
that  period  and  the  prominence  both  of  experimental  method 
and  of  magic  in  the  same.  But  our  investigation  deals  not 
only  with  magic  and  experimental  science,  but  with  their 
relation  to  Christian  thought.  It  is  therefore  with  interest 
that  we  turn  to  the  works  of  these  two  early  representatives 
of  scholastic  theology,  and  inquire  what  cognizance,  if  any, 
they  take  of  the  subjects  in  which  we  are  especially  inter- 
ested. As  we  proceed  into  the  later  twelfth  and  thirteenth 
centuries  in  subsequent  chapters,  we  shall  also  take  occa- 
sion to  note  the  utterances  of  other  leading  men  of  learning 
who  speak  largely  from  the  theological  standpoint,  like  John 
of  Salisbury  and  Thomas  Aquinas.     Let  us  hasten  to  admit 


of  schol- 
to  our 


of  Abe- 

of  his 

also  that  the  scholastic  method  of  instruction  and  writing 
made  itself  felt  in  natural  science  and  medicine  as  well  as 
in  theology,  as  a  number  of  our  subsequent  chapters  will  il- 
lustrate. In  the  present  chapter  we  shall  furthermore  be 
brought  again  into  contact  with  the  topic  of  the  Physiologus 
and  Latin  Bestiaries,  owing  to  the  fact  that  a  treatise  of 
this  sort  has  been  ascribed,  although  probably  incorrectly, 
to  Hugh  of  St.  Victor. 

There  is  no  more  familiar,  and  possibly  no  more  impor- 
tant, figure  in  the  history  of  Latin  learning  during  the 
twelfth  century  than  Peter  Abelard  who  flourished  at  its 
beginning.  His  career,  as  set  forth  in  his  own  words,  illus- 
trates educational  conditions  in  Gaul  at  that  time.  His 
brilliant  success  as  a  lecturer  on  logic  and  theology  at  Paris 
reveals  the  great  medieval  university  of  that  city  in  embryo. 
His  pioneer  work.  Sic  et  Non,  set  the  fashion  for  the  stand- 
ard method  of  presentation  employed  in  scholasticism.  He 
was  not,  however,  the  only  daring  and  original  spirit  of  his 
time;  his  learned  writings  were  almost  entirely  in  those 
fields  known  as  patristic  and  scholastic;  and,  as  in  the  case 
of  Sic  et  Non,  consist  chiefly  in  a  repetition  of  the  utter- 
ances of  the  fathers.  This  is  especially  true  of  his  state- 
ments concerning  astrology,  the  magi,  and  demons.  To 
natural  science  he  gave  little  or  no  attention.  Nevertheless 
his  intellectual  prominence  and  future  influence  make  it  ad- 
visable to  note  what  position  he  took  upon  these  points. 

Although  not  original,  his  views  concerning  the  stars 
and  their  influences  are  the  more  essential  to  expose,  because 
writers  upon  Abelard  have  misunderstood  and  consequently 
misinterpreted  them.  Joseph  McCabe  in  his  Life  of  Abe- 
lard,^ for  instance,  asserts  that  Abelard  calls  mathematics 
diabolical  in  one  of  his  works.  And  Charles  Jourdain  in  his 
in  some  ways  excellent  -  Dissertation  sur  I'etat  de  la  philo- 
sophic natiirelle  en  Occident  et  principalemcnt  en  France 
pendant  la  premiere  nioitie  du  Xlle  siecle,  praises  Abelard 

'  J.     McCabe,     Peter 
New  York,   1901. 


'  Especially  considering  its  date, 
Paris,  1838. 




nature  of 
the  stars. 

for  what  he  regards  as  an  admirable  attack  upon  and  criti- 
cism of  astrology  in  his  Expositio  in  Hexameron,  saying, 
"It  will  be  hard  to  find  in  the  writers  of  a  later  age  anything 
more  discriminating  on  the  errors  of  astrology."  ^  Jourdain 
apparently  did  not  realize  the  extent  to  which  Abelard  was 
simply  repeating  the  writers  of  an  earlier  age.  However, 
Abelard's  presentation  possesses  a  certain  freshness  and 
perhaps  contains  some  original  observations. 

In  the  passage  in  question  ^  Abelard  first  discusses  the 
nature  of  the  stars.  He  says  that  it  is  no  small  question 
whether  the  planets  are  animat'^d,  as  the  philosophers  think, 
and  have  spirits  who  control  their  motion,  or  whether  they 
hold  their  unvarying  course  merely  by  the  will  and  order 
of  Grod.  Philosophers  do  not  hesitate  to  declare  them  ra- 
tional, immortal,  and  impassive  animals,  and  the  Platonists 
call  them  not  only  gods  but  gods  of  gods,  as  being  more 
excellent  and  having  greater  efficacy  than  the  other  stars. 
Moreover,  Augustine  says  in  his  Handbook  that  he  is  un- 
certain whether  to  class  the  sun,  moon,  and  stars  with  the 
angels.  In  his  Retractions  Augustine  withdrew  his  earlier 
statement  that  this  world  is  an  animal,  as  Plato  and  other 
philosophers  believe,  not  because  he  was  sure  it  was  false, 
but  because  he  could  not  certainly  prove  it  true  either  by 
reason  or  by  the  authority  of  divine  scripture.  Abelard  does 
not  venture  to  state  an  opinion  of  his  own,  but  he  at  least 
has  done  little  to  refute  a  view  of  the  nature  of  the  heav- 
enly bodies  which  is  quite  favorable  to,  and  usually  was  ac- 
companied by,  astrology.  Also  he  displays  the  wonted 
medieval  respect  for  the  opinions  of  the  philosophers  in 
general  and  the  leaning  of  the  twelfth  century  toward  Plato 
in  particular. 

Abelard  next  comes  to  the  problem  of  the  influence  of    Prediction 
the  stars  upon  this  earth  and  man.     He  grants  that  the    and  con- 
stars  control  heat  and  cold,  drought  and  moisture;  he  ac-    tingent 

.  .  .  events, 

cepts  the  astrological  division  of  the  heavens  into  houses, 

^  Ibid.,  p.  119. 

*  Cousin,  Opera  hactenus  seorsim  edita  (1849-1859),  I,  647-9. 


in  certain  ones  of  which  each  planet  exerts  its  maximum  of 
force ;  and  he  believes  that  men  skilled  in  knowledge  of  the 
stars  can  by  astronomy  predict  much  concerning  the  future 
of  things  having  natural  causes.  Astronomical  observations 
to  his  mind  are  very  valuable  not  only  in  agriculture  but  in 
medicine,  and  he  mentions  that  Moses  himself  is  believed  to 
have  been  very  skilful  in  this  science  of  the  Egyptians.  It 
is  onl}^  to  the  attempt  to  predict  contingentia  as  distinguished 
from  naturalia  that  he  objects.  By  contingentia  he  seems 
to  mean  events  in  which  chance  and  divine  providence  or 
human  choice  and  free  will  are  involved.  He  gives  as  a 
proof  that  astrologers  cannot  predict  such  events  the  fact 
that,  while  they  will  foretell  to  you  what  other  persons  will 
do,  they  refuse  to  tell  you  openly  which  of  two  courses  you 
yourself  will  pursue  for  fear  that  you  may  prove  them  wrong 
by  wilfully  doing  the  contrary  to  what  they  predict.  Or,  if 
an  astrologer  is  able  to  predict  such  "contingent  events,"  it 
must  be  because  the  devil  has  assisted  him,  and  hence  Abe- 
lard  declares  that  he  who  promises  anyone  certitude  concern- 
ing "contingent  happenings"  by  means  of  "astronomy"  is 
to  be  considered  not  so  much  asfronomicus  as  diaholicus. 
This  is  the  nearest  approach  that  I  have  been  able  to  find 
in  Abelard's  writings  to  McCabe's  assertion  that  he  once 
called  mathematics  diabolical.  But  possibly  I  have  over- 
looked some  other  passage  where  Abelard  calls  mathematica, 
in  the  sense  of  divination,  diabolical.^  In  any  case  Abelard 
rejects  astrology  only  in  part  and  accepts  it  with  certain 
qualifications.  His  attitude  is  about  the  average  one  of  his 
own  time  and  of  ages  preceding  and  following. 
The  Magi  Abelard  speaks  of  the  Magi  and  the  star  of  Bethlehem  in 

g"Jr^  ^  a  sermon  for  Epiphany.-  This  familiar  theme,  as  we  have 
seen,  had  often  occupied  the  pens  of  the  church  fathers,  so 
that  Abelard  has  nothing  new  to  say.  On  the  contrary,  he 
exhausts  neither  the  authorities  nor  the  subject  in  the  pas- 
sages which  he  selects  for  repetition.    His  first  t)oint  is  that 

*  I  have,  however,  searched  for  such  in  vain. 
*Migne,  PL  178,  409-17. 


the  Magi  were  fittingly  the  first  of  the  Gentiles  to  become 
Christian  converts  because  they  before  had  been  the  masters 
of  the  greatest  error,  condemned  by  law  with  soothsayers  to 
death,  and  indebted  for  their  "nefarious  and  execrable  doc- 
trine" to  demons.  In  short,  Abelard  identifies  them  with 
magicians  and  takes  that  word  in  the  worst  sense.  He  is 
aware,  however,  that  some  identify  them  not  with  sorcerers 
(malefici)  but  with  astronomers.  He  repeats  the  legend 
from  the  spurious  homily  of  Chrysostom  which  we  have 
already  recounted  ^  of  how  the  magi  had  for  generations 
watched  for  the  star,  warned  by  the  writing  of  Seth  which 
they  possessed,  and  how  the  star  finally  appeared  in  the 
form  of  a  little  child  with  a  cross  above  it  and  spake  with 
them.  He  also  states  that  they  were  called  magici  in  their 
tongue  because  they  glorified  God  in  silence,  without  ap- 
pearing to  note  that  this  is  contrary  to  his  previous  use  of 
magi  in  an  evil  sense.  Abelard  believes  that  a  new  star 
announced  the  birth  of  Christ,  the  heavenly  king,  although 
he  grants  that  comets,  which  we  read  of  as  announcing  the 
deaths  of  earthly  sovereigns,  are  not  new  stars.  He  also 
discusses  without  satisfactory  results  the  question  why  this 
new  star  was  seen  only  by  the  Magi. 

In  a  chapter  "On  the  Suggestions  of  Demons"  in  his   Demons 
Etkica  sen  Scito  te  ipsnm~  Abelard  attempts  to  a  certain    j"^^^  . 
extent  a  natural  explanation  of  the  tempting  of  men  by    nature, 
demons  and  the  arousing  of  lust  and  other  evil  passions 
within  us.     In  this  he  perhaps  makes  his  closest  approach 
to  the  standpoint  of  natural  science,  although  he  is  simply 
repeating  an  idea  found  already  in  Augustine  and  other 
church  fathers.     In  plants  and  seeds  and  trees  and  stones, 
Abelard  explains,  there  reside  many  forces  adapted  to  arouse 
or  calm  our  passions.     The  demons,  owing  to  their  subtle 
ingenuity  and   their  long  experience  with  the  natures  of 
things,  are  acquainted  with  all  these  occult  properties  and 
make  use  of  them  for  their  own  evil  ends.    Thus  they  some- 
times, by  divine  permission,  send  men  into  trances  or  give 
*  See  above,  chapter  20,  page  474.  '  Cap.  4,  in  Migne,  PL  178,  647. 



Magic  and 



Hugh  of 
St.  Victor. 

remedies  to  those  making  supplications  to  them,  "and  often 
when  such  cease  to  feel  pain,  they  are  believed  to  be  cured." 
Abelard  also  mentions  the  marvels  which  the  demons  worked 
in  Egypt  in  opposition  to  Moses  by  means  of  Pharaoh's 

Evidently  then  Abelard  believes  both  in  the  existence  of 
demons  and  of  occult  virtues  in  nature  by  which  marvels 
may  be  worked.  Magic  avails  itself  both  of  demonic  and 
natural  forces.  The  demons  are  more  thoroughly  acquainted 
with  the  secrets  of  nature  than  are  men.  But  this  does  not 
prove  that  scientific  research  is  necessarily  diabolical  or 
that  anyone  devoting  himself  to  investigation  of  nature  is 
giving  himself  over  to  demons.  The  inevitable  conclusion 
is  rather  that  if  men  will  practice  the  same  long  experimen- 
tation and  will  exercise  the  same  "subtle  ingenuity"  as  the 
demons  have,  there  is  nothing  to  prevent  them,  too,  from 
becoming  at  last  thoroughly  acquainted  with  the  natural 
powers  of  things.  Also  magic,  since  it  avails  itself  of  natu- 
ral forces,  is  akin  to  natural  science,  while  natural  science 
may  hope  some  day  to  rival  both  the  knowledge  of  the  de- 
mons and  the  marvels  of  magic.  Abelard  does  not  go  on 
to  draw  any  of  these  conclusions,  but  other  medieval  writers 
were  to  do  so  before  very  long. 

Upon  Hugh  of  St.  Victor  Vincent  of  Beauvais  in  the 
century  following  looked  back  as  "illustrious  in  religion  and 
knowledge  of  literature"  and  as  "second  to  no  one  of  his 
time  in  skill  in  the  seven  liberal  arts."  ^  Hugh  was  Abe- 
lard's  younger  contemporary,  born  almost  twenty  years  later 
in  Saxony  in  1096  but  dying  a  year  before  Abelard  in  1141. 
His  uncle,  the  bishop  of  Halberstadt,  had  preceded  him  at 
Paris  as  a  student  under  William  of  Champeaux.  When 
Hugh,  as  an  Augustinian  canon,  reached  the  monastery  of 
St.  Victor  at  Paris,  William  had  ceased  to  teach  and  be- 
come a  bishop.    Hugh  was  himself  chosen  head  of  the  school 

^Speculum  doctrinale  (1472?), 
XVIII,  62,  "Hugo  Parisiensis 
sancti  victoris  canonicus  religione 

et  literarum  scientia  clarus  et  in 
VII  liberalium  artium  peritia 
nulli  sui  temporis  secundus  fuit." 



in  1 133.  He  is  famous  as  a  mystic,  but  also  composed  ex- 
egetical  and  dogmatic  works,  and  is  noted  for  his  classifica- 
tion of  the  sciences.  Edward  Myers  well  observes  in  this 
connection :  "Historians  of  philosophy  are  now  coming  to 
see  that  it  betrays  a  lack  of  psychological  imagination  to  be 
unable  to  figure  the  subjective  coexistence  of  Aristotelian 
dialectics  with  mysticism  of  the  Victorine  or  Bernardine  type 
— and  even  their  compenetration.  Speculative  thought  was 
not,  and  could  not  be,  isolated  from  religious  life  lived  with 
such  intensity  as  it  was  in  the  middle  ages,  when  that  specu- 
lative thought  was  active  everywhere,  in  every  profession, 
in  every  degree  of  the  social  scale."  ^  Later,  in  the  case  of 
St.  Hildegard  of  Bingen,  we  shall  meet  an  even  more  strik- 
ing combination  of  mysticism  and  natural  science. 

Of  Hugh's  writings  we  shall  be  chiefly  concerned  with  Character 
the  Didascalicon,  or  Eruditio  didascalica,-  a  brief  work  Didalcali- 
whose  six  books  occupy  some  seventy  columns  in  Migne's   <^on. 

"■  CE  ^  "Hugh  of  St.  Victor," 
where  is  also  given  a  good  bib- 
liography of  works  on  Hugh's 
theology,  philosophy,  psychology, 
and  pedagogy. 

*  I  have  employed  the  text  in 
Migne  PL  vol.  176,  cols.  739-812. 
It  should  be  noted,  however,  that 
B.  Haureau,  Les  GLuvres  de 
Hugues  de  Saint-Victor,  Essai 
critique,  nouvelle  edition,  Paris, 
1886,  demonstrated  that  there 
should  be  only  six  books  of  the 
Didascalicon  instead  of  seven  as 
in  this  edition  and  that  of  1648. 
This  will  not  affect  our  investi- 
gation, as  we  shall  make  no  use 
of  the  seventh  book,  but  we  shall 
have  later  to  discuss  whether  a 
passage  on  magic  belongs  at  the 
close  of  the  sixth  book  or  not. 
There  appears  to  be  a  somewhat 
general  impression  that  the  edi- 
tion of  1648  is  the  earliest  edition 
of  Hugh's  works,  but  the  British 
Museum  has  an  undated  incunabu- 
lum  of  the  "Didascolon"  num- 
bered IB.  850,  fol.  254. 

Vincent  of  Beauvais  in  the  thir- 
teenth century  speaks  of  the 
"Didascolon"     as     in     five     books 

{Speculum  doctrinale,  XVIII,  62) 
but  is  probably  mistaken.  The 
MSS  seem  uniformly  to  divide  the 
work  into  a  prologue  and  six 
books,  as  in  the  following  at  Ox- 

New  College  144,  nth  {sic) 
century,  folio  bene  exaratus  et 
servatus,  fols.  105-43,  "Incipit  pro- 
logus  in  Didascalicon." 

Jesus  College  35,  12th  century, 
fol.  26- 

St.  John's  98,  14th  century,  fol. 

Corpus  Christi  223,  15th  cen- 
tury, fol.  72,- 

I  have  not  noted  what  MSS  of 
the  Didascalicon  there  are  in  the 
British  Museum.  The  following 
MSS  elsewhere  may  be  worth 
listing  as  of  early  date : 

Grenoble  246,  12th  century,  fols. 

BN  13334,  .i2th  century,  fol. 
52-,  de  arte  didascalica,  is  prob» 
ably  our  treatise,  although  the 
catalogue   names   no  author. 

BN  15256,  13th  century,  fol.  128-. 

Still  other  MSS  will  be  men- 
tioned in  a  subsequent  note. 


Patrologia.  It  is  especially  devoted,  as  its  first  chapter 
clearly  states,  to  instructing  the  student  what  to  read  and 
how  to  read.  On  the  whole,  especially  for  its  early  twelfth 
century  date,  it  is  a  clear,  systematic,  and  sensible  treatise, 
which  shows  that  medieval  men  were  wider  readers  than 
has  often  been  supposed  and  that  they  had  some  sound  ideas 
on  how  to  study.  In  order  to  have  a  basis  for  systematic 
study,  Hugh  describes  and  classifies  the  various  arts  and 
sciences,  mechanical  and  liberal,  theoretical  and  practical. 
He  is  possibly  influenced  in  his  definitions  and  derivations 
by  Isidore's  Etymologies,  although  he  seldom  if  ever  ac- 
knowledges the  debt,  whereas  he  cites  Boethius  a  number  of 
times,  but  at  least  his  classification  and  arrangement  of  ma- 
terial are  quite  different  from  Isidore's.  In  this  description 
and  classification,  and  indeed  throughout  the  treatise,  Hugh 
seems  to  display  no  little  originality  of  thought  and  arrange- 
ment— once  he  tells  us  of  his  own  methods  of  study  ^ — al- 
though his  facts  and  details  are  mostly  familiar  ones  from 
ancient  authors  and  although  he  of  course  embodies  generally 
accepted  notions  such  as  the  triinum  and  quadrwiitm. 
Meaning  To  the  four  subjects  of  the  quadriviiim  he  adds  physica 

oiphysica.  qj-  physiologia,'^  which  he  says  "considers  and  investigates 
the  causes  of  things  in  their  effects  and  their  effects  in  their 
causes."    He  quotes  from  Vergil's  Georgics,  (II,  479-) 

"Whence  earthquakes  come,  what  force  disturbs  the  deep, 
Virtues  of  herbs,  the  minds  and  wraths  of  brutes, 
All  kinds  of  fruits,  of  reptiles,  too,  and  gems." 

Thus  Physica  is  more  inclusive  than  the  modern  science  of 
Physics,  while  Hugh  evidently  does  not  employ  it  in  the 
specific  sense  of  the  art  of  medicine,  of  which  the  word 
physica  was  sometimes  used  in  the  medieval  period.  Hugh 
goes  on  to  say  that  Physica  is  sometimes  still  more  broadly 
interpreted  to  designate  natural  philosophy  in  contrast  to 
logical  and  ethical  philosophy.  His  quotation  from  the 
Georgics  also  causes  one  to  reflect  on  the  prominent  part 
^Didasc.  VI,  3.  *  Ibid.,  II,  17. 




played  in  natural  science  from  before  Vergil  to  after  Hugh 
by  the  semi-human  characteristics  ascribed  to  animals  and 
the  occult  virtues  ascribed  to  herbs  and  gems. 

Hugh's  attitude  to  history  is  interesting  to  note  in  pass- 
ing. In  his  classification  of  the  sciences  he  does  not  assign 
it  a  distinct  place  as  he  does  to  economics  and  politics,  but 
he  shows  his  inchoate  sense  of  the  importance  of  the  history 
of  science  and  of  thought  by  attempting  a  list  of  the  found- 
ers of  the  various  arts  and  sciences.^  In  this  connection  he 
adopts  the  theory  of  the  origin  of  the  Etruscans  at  present 
in  favor  with  scholars,  that  they  came  from  Lydia.  He 
regards  the  study  of  Biblical  or  sacred  history  as  the  first 
essential  for  a  theologian,  who  should  learn  history  from 
beginning  to  end  before  he  proceeds  to  doctrine  and  alle- 
gory.^ Four  essential  points  to  note  in  studying  history  in 
Hugh's  opinion  are  the  person,  the  event,  the  time,  and  the 

In  discussing  the  qiiadrimiim  Hugh  explains  the  signifi- 
cance of  the  terms,  mathematica,  astronomia,  and  astrologia. 
Mathematica,  in  which  the  first  letter  "t"  has  the  aspirate, 
denotes  sound  doctrine  and  the  science  of  abstract  quantity, 
and  embraces  within  itself  the  four  subjects  of  the  qiiad- 
rivimn.  In  other  words  it  denotes  mathematics  in  our  sense 
of  the  word.  But  niatcsis,  spelled  without  the  aspirate,  sig- 
nifies that  superstitious  vanity  which  places  the  fate  of  man 
under  the  constellations.  ^     Hugh  thus  allows  for  the  com- 

^Didasc.  Ill,  2. 

*Ibid.,  VI,  3. 

*A  similar  distinction  will  be 
found  in  the  Glosses  on  the  Tim- 
aeus  of  William  of  Conches 
(Cousin,  Ouvrages  inedits  d' Abe- 
lard,  1836,  p.  649),  one  of  Hugh's 
contemporaries  of  whom  we  shall 
presently  treat.  A  little  later  in 
the  twelfth  century  John  of  Salis- 
bury (Polycraticiis,  II,  18)  makes 
the  distinction  between  the  two 
mateses  or  mathematics  lie  rather 
in  the  quantity  of  the  penultimate 
vowel  "e".  In  the  thirteenth  cen- 
tury Albertus  Magnus  (Cotn- 
mentary  on  Matthew,  II,  i)   also 

distinguished  between  the  two  va- 
rieties of  mathematics  according 
to  the  length  of  the  "e"  in  "ma- 
thesis" ;  but  he  did  not  regard 
the  second  variety  as  necessarily 
superstitious,  but  as  divination 
from  the  stars  which  might  be 
either  good  or  bad,  like  Hugh's 

Roger  Bacon  mentioned  both 
methods  of  distinction  between  the 
true  and  false  mathematics ;  but 
statements  in  his  different  works 
are  not  in  agreement  as  to  which 
case  it  is  in  which  the  "e"  is  long 
or  short.  In  the  Opus  Mains 
(Bridges,    I,    239    and   note)    and 

The  study 
of  his- 

The  two 

matics : 
and  super- 



lunar  and 

mon  use  since  the  time  of  the  Roman  Empire  of  the  word 
mathematiciis  for  an  astrologer,  and  the  frequent  use  of 
mathematica  in  the  sense  of  the  Greek  word  mantike  or  div- 
ination. He  correctly  states  the  Greek  derivation  of  as- 
trology and  astronomy  and  employs  those  words  in  just 
about  their  modern  sense.  Astrology  considers  the  stars 
in  order  to  determine  the  nativity,  death,  and  certain  other 
events.  For  Hugh,  however,  it  is  not  wholly  a  superstition, 
but  "partly  natural  science,  partly  a  superstition,"  since  he 
believes  that  the  condition  of  the  human  body  as  well  as  of 
other  bodies  depends  upon  the  constellations,  and  that  sick- 
ness and  health  as  well  as  storms  or  fair  weather,  fertility 
and  sterility,  can  be  predicted  from  the  stars,  but  that  it  is 
superstitious  to  assert  their  control  over  contingent  events 
and  acts  of  free  will, — the  same  distinction  as  that  made  by 

In  an  earlier  discussion  of  the  universe  above  and  be- 
neath the  moon  ^  Hugh  had  further  emphasized  the  superi- 
ority of  the  heavenly  bodies  and  their  power  over  earthly 
life  and  nature.  He  distinguished  three  kinds  of  beings: 
God  the  Creator  {solus  naturae  genitor  et  artifex)  who 
alone  is  without  beginning  or  end  and  truly  eternal,  the 
bodies  of  the  superlunar  world  which  have  a  beginning  but 
no  end  and  are  called  perpetual  and  divine,  and  sublunar  and 
terrestrial  things  which  have  both  a  beginning  and  an  end. 
The  mathematicians  call  the  superlunar  world  nature,  and 
the  sublunar  world  the  work  of  nature,  because  all  life  and 
growth  in  it  comes  "through  invisible  channels  from  the 

Opus  Tertium  (caps.  9  and  65) 
he  states  that  the  vowel  is  short 
in  the  true  mathematics  and  long 
in  the  superstitious  variety ;  but 
in  other  writings  he  took  the  op- 
posite view  and  declared  that  "all 
the  Latins"  were  wrong  in  think- 
ing otherwise  (see  Bridges,  I, 
229  note;  Steele   (1920)  viii). 

In  a  twelfth  century  MS  at 
Munich  (CLM  19488,  pp.  17-23) 
a  treatise  or  perhaps  an  excerpt 
from  some  longer  work,  entitled 

De  differentiis  vocahulorum,  opens 
with  the  words,  "Scire  facit 
mathesis  et  divinare  mathesis." 
Roger  Bacon  says  (Steele,  1920, 
p.  3),  "Set  glomerelli  nescientes 
Grecum  ...  ex  magna  sua  igno- 
rancia  vulgaverunt  hos  versus 
falsos : 
Scire    facit    matesis,    set    divinare 

mathesis ; 
Philosophi  matesim,  magici  dixere 
^  Didascalicon,  I,  7. 

sion  of 


superior  bodies."  They  also  call  the  upper  world  time,  be- 
cause of  the  movements  of  the  heavenly  bodies  in  it  deter- 
mining time,  and  the  lower  world  temporal,  because  it  is 
moved  according  to  the  superior  motions.  They  further  call 
the  superlunar  world  Elysium  on  account  of  its  perpetual 
light  and  peace,  while  they  call  the  other  Infernwm  because 
of  its  confusion  and  constant  fluctuation.  Hugh  adds  that 
he  has  touched  upon  these  points  in  order  to  show  man  that, 
in  so  far  as  he  shares  in  this  world  of  change,  he  is  like  it, 
subject  to  necessity,  while  in  so  far  as  he  is  immortal  he  is 
related  to  the  Godhead. 

Hugh's  brief,  but  clear  and  pithy,  account  of  magic  oc-  Discus 
curs  in  the  closing  chapter  of  his  sixth  and  last  book,^  and 
seems  to  be  rather  in  the  nature  of  an  addendum.  It  is, 
indeed,  missing  from  the  Didascalicon  in  some  of  the  earli- 
est manuscripts  ^  and  is  found  separately  in  the  same  col- 
lection of  manuscripts,  so  that  possibly  it  is  not  by  Hugh. 
At  any  rate,  magic  is  treated  by  itself  apart  from  his  previ- 
ous description  and  classification  of  the  arts  and  sciences 
and  listing  of  their  founders.  The  definition  of  magic  makes 
it  clear  why  it  is  thus  segregated :  "Magic  is  not  included 
in  philosophy,  but  is  a  distinct  subject,  false  in  its  profes- 
sions, mistress  of  all  iniquity  and  malice,  deceiving  concern- 

^ Didasc.  VI,  15  (Migne  PL  176,  The  passage  on   magic   is  also 

810-12).  cited   as    Hugh's    by    Robert    Kil- 

'^BN  nouv.  acq.  1429,  12th  cen-  wardby,     archbishop     of     Canter- 

tury,   fols.    iv-23,  and   CLM  2572,  bury  1272-1279,  in  his  work  on  the 

written    between    1182    and    1199;  division  of  the  sciences,  cap.  67: 

both  end  with  the  thirteenth  chap-  MSS  are  BalHol  3 ;  Merton  261. 
ter  of  Book  VI,  or  at  col.  809  in  In    Cortona    35,    isth    century, 

Migne.     St.  John's  98,   14th  cen-  fol.   203,   the  Didascalicon  in  six 

tury,   fol.    145V,  also   ends   at  this  books  is  first  followed  by  a  brief 

point.    Jesus  College  35,  12th  cen-  passage,  Divisio   philosophie   con- 

tury,   is   mutilated  at  the  close.  tinentium,  which  is  perhaps  simply 

Other  early  MSS,  however,  in-  the  fourteenth  chapter  of  the  sixth 
elude  the  passage  on  magic  in  the  book  as  printed  in  Migne,  and  then 
Didascalicon,  and  end  the  sixth  at  fol.  224  by  the  passage  concern- 
book  with  the  closing  words  of  ing  magic  and  its  subdivisions, 
the  account  of  magic,  "Hy-  The  account  of  magic  also  oc- 
dromancy  first  came  from  the  curs  in  MSS  which  do  not  con- 
Persians"  :  see  Vitry-le-Frangois  tain  the  Didascalicon,  for  instance, 
19,  I2th  century,  fols.  1-46;  Maza-  Vatic.  Palat.  Lat.  841,  13th  cen- 
rine  717,  13th  century,  $9,  closing  tury,  fol.  I39r,  "Magice  artis 
at  fol.  97v.  quinque  sunt  species.  .  .  ." 


ing  the  truth  and  truly  doing  harm ;  it  seduces  souls  from 
divine  religion,  promotes  the  worship  of  demons,  engenders 
corruption  of  morals,  and  impels  the  minds  of  its  followers 
to  every  crime  and  abomination."  Hugh  had  prefaced  this 
definition  by  much  the  usual  meager  history  of  the  origin  of 
magic  to  be  found  in  Isidore  and  other  writers,  but  his  defin- 
ition proper  seems  rather  original  in  its  form  and  in  a  way 
admirable  in  its  attitude.  The  ancient  classical  feeling  that 
magic  was  evil  and  the  Christian  prejudice  against  it  as  the 
work  of  demons  still  play  a  large  part  in  his  summary  of 
the  subject,  but  to  these  two  points  that  magic  is  hostile  to 
Christianity  or  irreligious,  and  that  it  is  improper,  immoral, 
and  criminal,  he  adds  the  other  two  points  that  it  is  not  a 
part  of  philosophy — in  other  words,  it  is  unscientific,  and 
that  it  is  more  or  less  untrue  and  unreal.  Or  these  four 
points  may  be  reduced  to  two :  since  law,  religion,  and 
learning  unite  in  condemning  magic,  it  is  unsocial  in 
every  respect;  and  it  is  more  or  less  untrue,  unreal,  and 
Five  sub-  Hugh's  list  of  various  forbidden  and  occult  arts  which 

ormag^c  ^^^  sub-divisions  of  magic  is  somewhat  similar  to  that  of 
Isidore,  but  he  classifies  and  groups  them  logically  under 
five  main  heads  in  a  way  which  appears  to  be  partly  his  own, 
and  which  was  followed  by  other  subsequent  writers,  such  as 
Roger  Bacon.  His  first  three  main  heads  all  deal  with  arts 
of  divination.  Mantike  divides  as  usual  into  necromancy, 
geomancy,  hydromancy,  aerimancy,  and  pyromancy.  Under 
mafhematica  are  listed  aruspicina,  or  the  observation  of 
hours  (liorae)  or  of  entrails  (hara) ;  augury,  or  observation 
of  birds;  and  horoscopia,  or  the  observation  of  nativities. 
The  third  main  head,  sortilegia,  deals  with  divination  by 
lots.  The  fourth  main  head,  malcficia,  with  which  magic 
has  already  been  twice  identified  in  the  chapter,  is  now  de- 
scribed by  Hugh  as  "the  performance  of  evil  deeds  by  in- 
cantations to  demons,  or  by  ligatures  or  any  other  accursed 
kind  of  remedies  with  the  co-operation  and  instruction  of 


demons."  ^  Fifth  and  last  come  praestigia,  in  which  "by 
phantastic  ilhisions  concerning  the  transformation  of  ob- 
jects the  human  senses  are  deceived  by  demoniacal  art."  ^ 

Among-  the  doubtful   and  spurious  works  ascribed  to   DebestUs 
.  .  .  .  .  et  alns 

Hugh  is  a  bestiary  in  four  books,^  in  which  various  birds   rebus. 

and  beasts  are  described,  and  spiritual  and  moral  applications 
are  made  from  them.  At  least  this  is  the  character  of  the 
first  part  of  the  treatise;  towards  the  close  it  becomes  sim- 
ply a  glossary  of  all  sorts  of  natural  objects.  Physiologns 
is  often  cited  for  the  natural  properties  of  birds  and  beasts, 
but  as  we  have  already  dealt  with  the  problem  of  the  Physi- 
ologiis  in  an  earlier  chapter,  and  as  we  shall  sufficiently  deal 
with  the  properties  and  natures  ascribed  to  animals  in  the 
middle  ages  in  describing  the  treatment  of  them  by  various 
encyclopedists  like  Thomas  of  Cantimpre,  Bartholomew  of 
England,  and  Albertus  Magnus,  we  are  at  present  mainly 
interested  in  some  other  features  of  the  treatise  before  us. 
It  is  often  illustrated  with  illuminations  of  birds  and  ani- 
mals in  the  manuscripts  and  was  originally  intended  to  be 
so,  as  the  prologue  on  the  hawk  and  dove  by  its  monkish 
author  to  a  noble  convert,  Raynerus,  makes  evident.  "Wish- 
ing to  satisfy  the  petitions  of  your  desire,  I  decided  to  paint 
the  dove  whose  'wings  are  covered  with  silver,  and  her 
feathers  with  yellow  gold,'  and  to  edify  minds  by  painting, 
in  order  that  what  the  simple  mind  can  scarcely  grasp  by 
the  eye  of  the  intellect,  it  might  at  least  discern  with  the 
carnal  eye,  and  vision  perceive  what  hearing  could  scarcely 
comprehend.  However,  I  wished  not  only  to  depict  the  dove 
graphically  but  to  describe  it  in  words  and  to  explain  the 
painting  by  writing,  so  that  he  whom  the  simplicity  of  the 
picture  did  not  please  might  at  least  be  pleased  by  the  morality 
of  Scripture."  Indeed,  the  work  is  often  entitled  The  Gilded 

*  "Malefici  sunt  qui  per  incan-  phantasticas  illusiones  circa  rerum 
tationes  daemonicas  sive  ligaturas  immutationem  sensibus  humanis 
vel  alia  quaecunque  exsecrabilia  arte  daemoniaca  illuditur." 
remediorum  genera  cooperatione  '  Migne,  PL  177,  13-164,  "Hugo 
daemonum  atque  instructu  ne-  Raynero  suo  salutem.  Desiderii 
fanda  perficiunt."  tui  petitionibus,  charissime,  satis- 

*  "Praestigia    sunt    quando    per  facere   cupiens  .  .  ." 

i6     MAGIC  AND  EXPERIMENTAL  SCIENCE     chap,  xxxv 

Dove  in  the  manuscripts.  The  treatise  is  manifestly  of  a  re- 
ligious and  popular  rather  than  scientific  character.  One 
interesting  passage  states  that  a  monk  should  not  practice 
medicine  because  "a  doctor  sometimes  sees  things  which  are 
not  decent  to  see,"  and  "touches  what  it  is  improper  for  the 
religious  to  touch."  Furthermore,  a  physician  "speaks  of 
uncertain  matters  by  means  of  experiments,  but  experience  is 
deceitful  and  so  often  errs.  But  this  is  not  fitting  for  a  monk 
that  he  should  speak  aught  but  the  truth."  ^  It  is  rather  sur- 
prising to  find  free  will  attributed  to  the  wild  beasts,  who  are 
said  to  wander  about  at  their  will.-  This  passage,  however, 
is  simply  copied  from  Isidore.^ 

*  I,  45.  "De  incertis  per  experi-  bertate  et  desiderio  suo  ferantur. 
menta  loquitur,  sed  experimentum  Sunt  enim  liberae  eorum  volun- 
est  fallax,  ideo  saepe  fallitur.  Sed  tates  et  hue  atque  illuc  vagantur 
hoc  religioso  non  expedit  ut  alia  et  quo  animus  duxerit  eo  ferun- 
quam  vera  loquatur."  tur." 

*  II,  prologus.     "Ferae  appellan-  *  Etyntologiarum,  XII,  ii,  2. 
tur  eo   quod   naturali    utantur    li- 




The  De  bestiis  et  aliis  rebus  or  Columha  deargentata 
appears  with  other  opuscula  of  Hugh  of  St.  Victor  or 
Hugh  of  Folieto  in 

Vendome  156,  12th  century,  fol.  iv — ,  "Libellus  cuiusdam  ad 
fratrem  Rainerum  corde  benignum  qui  Columba  deargen- 
tata inscribitur.  Desiderii  tui,  karissime,  petitionibus  satis- 
facere.  .  .  ." 

Dijon  anciens  fonds  225,  12th  century,  fols.  92V-98,  "Prologus 
Hugonis  prioris  in  librum  de  tribus  columbis.  Desiderii  tui, 
karissime,  petitionibus  satisfacere.  .  .  ." 

Cambridge  University  has  several  copies,  most  of  which 
seem  to  differ  from  the  printed  edition  and  from  one  an- 

CUL  1574,  15th  century,  Liber  de  bestiis  et  aliis  rebus;  the  ar- 
rangement is  said  to  be  very  different  from  that  in  Migne. 

CUL  1823,  I2th  century,  "Liber  bestiarum";  similar  in  text  to  the 
foregoing,  but  with  a  different  order  of  chapters,  "and  there  are 
both  large  omissions  and  insertions."  The  numerous  figures  of 
animals  in  outline  "are  remarkable  for  their  finish  and  vigor." 

CUL  2040,  late  13th  century,  fols.  50-93,  "De  natura  animantium"; 
said  to  be  "substantially  the  same  as  that  of  Hugo  de  S.  Victore ; 
the  arrangement,  however,  is  very  irregular." 

CU  Sidney  Sussex  100,  13th  century,  James's  description  (pp. 
1^5-7)  shows  it  to  be  our  treatise;  for  its  fine  miniatures  see 
James  (1895)  pp.  117-20. 

A  few  other  MSS  (doubtless  the  list  can  be  greatly  aug- 
mented) are: 

Vitry-le-Franqois  23,  13th  century,  fols.  1-23,  illuminated,  "Incipit 
libellus   cuiusdam    ad   Rainerum   conversum    cognomine    Corde 


i8     MAGIC  AND  EXPERIMENTAL  SCIENCE      chap,  xxxv 

Benignum.  Incipit  de  tribus  columbis.  Si  dormiatis  inter  medios 
cleros  .  .  .";  it  closes  without  Explicit,  ".  .  .  per  bonam  opera- 
tionem  conformem  reddit."  Then  follows  at  fol.  23V,  "Incipit 
tractatus  Hugonis  de  Folieto  prioris  canonicorum  Sancti  Lau- 
rentii  in  pago  Ambianensi  de  claustro  anime.  .  .  ." 

Vitry-le-Franqois  63,  13th  century,  fol.  i-,  "De  tribus  columbis  ad 
Raynerum  conversum  cognomento  Corde  Benignum  seu  de  natura 
avium.  .  .  .";  followed  at  fol.  7-,  by  portions  of  De  claustro 

BN  12321,  13th  century,  fol.  215V  (where  it  follows  works  by  St. 
Bernard),  De  naturis  avium  ad  Rainerum  conversum  cognomine 
Corde  benignum. 

Bourges  121,  13th  century,  fol.  128-,  "Libellus  cuiusdam  (Hugonis 
de  Folieto)  ad  fratrem  Rainerum  corde  benignum  qui  Columba 
deargentata  inscribitur." 

CLM  15407,  14th  century,  fol.  46,  Libellus  qui  "Columba  deargen- 
tata" inscribitur,  etc. 

CLM  18368,  anno  1385,  fol.  121,  Hugonis  de  S.  Victore  Columba 
deargentata;  fol.  124,  Eiusdem  avicularius. 



Place  in  medieval  learning — Some  dates  in  his  career — Mathematical 
treatises — Adelard  and  alchemy — Importance  of  the  Natural  Questions 
— Occasion  of  writing — Arabic  versus  Gallic  learning — "Modern  dis- 
coveries"— Medieval  work  wrongly  credited  to  Greek  and  Arab — Illus- 
trated from  the  history  of  alchemy — Science  and  religion — Reason 
versus  authority — Need  of  the  telescope  and  microscope  already  felt — 
Some  quaint  speculative  science — Warfare,  science,  and  religion — 
Specimens  of  medieval  scientific  curiosity — Theory  of  sound — Theory 
of  vision — Deductive  reasoning  from  hot  and  cold,  moist  and  dry — 
Refinement  of  the  four  elements  hypothesis — Animal  intelligence 
doubted — The  earth's  shape  and  center  of  gravity — Indestructibility  of 
matter — Also  stated  by  Hugh  of  St.  Victor — Roger  Bacon's  continuity 
of  universal  nature — Previously  stated  by  Adelard — Experiment  and 
magic — Adelard  and  Hero  of  Alexandria — Attitude  to  the  stars :  De 
eodem  et  diverso — Attitude  to  the  stars :  Questiones  naturalcs — As- 
trology in  an  anonymous  work,  perhaps  by  Athelardus — Authorities 
concerning  spirits — Adelard's  future  influence — Appendix  I.  The  prob- 
lem of  dating  the  De  eodem  et  diverso  and  Questiones  naturales  and 
of  their  relations  to  each  other — Difficulty  of  the  problem — Before 
what  queen  did  Adelard  play  the  cithara? — Circumstances  under  which 
the  De  eodem  et  diverso  was  written — Different  situation  depicted  in 
the  Natural  Questions — Some  apparent  indications  that  the  De  eodem 
et  diverso  was  written  after  the  Natural  Questions — How  long  had 
Henry  I  been  reigning? 

"Quare,  si  quid  amplius  a  me  audire  desideras,  rationem 
refer  et  recipe." 

—  Questiones  naturales,  cap.  6. 

While  the  Breton,  Abelard,  and  the  Saxon,  Hugh  of  St.    Place  in 

Victor,  were  reviewing  patristic  Hterature  from  somewhat   learning. 

new  angles  and  were  laying  the  foundations  of  scholastic 

method,  an  Englishman,  Adelard  of  Bath,^  was  primarily 

*  For  the  De  eodem  et  diverso  herausgegeben  und  historisch-krit- 

I   have  used  the  text  printed  for  isch  untersucht,  Miinster,  1903,  in 

the  first  time  by  H.  Willner,  Des  Beitrdge,  IV,  i. 

Adelard    von    Bath     Traktat    De  For  the  Questiones  naturales  I 

eodem  et  diverso,  sum.  ersten  Male  have  used  the  editio  princeps  of 



interested  in  exploring  the  fields  of  mathematical  and  natural 
science.  As  Hugh  came  from  Saxony  to  Paris  and  Abelard 
went  forth  from  his  native  Brittany  through  the  towns  of 
France  in  quest  of  Christian  teachers,  so  Adelard,  leaving 
not  only  his  home  in  England  but  the  schools  of  Gaul  where 
he  had  been  teaching,  made  a  much  more  extensive  intellec- 
tual pilgrimage  even  to  lands  Mohammedan.  "It  is  worth 
while,"  he  declares  in  one  of  his  works,  "to  visit  learned 
men  of  different  nations,  and  to  remember  whatever  you 
find  is  most  excellent  in  each  case.  For  what  the  schools 
of  Gaul  do  not  know,  those  beyond  the  Alps  reveal;  what 
you  do  not  learn  among  the  Latins,  well-informed  Greece 
will  teach  you.^  Adelard  seems  to  have  devoted  himself 
especially  to  Arabian  learning  and  to  have  made  a  number 
of  translations  from  the  Arabic,  continuing  at  the  beginning 
of  the  twelfth  century  that  transfer  of  Graeco-Arabic  sci- 
ence which  we  have  associated  with  the  name  of  Gerbert 
in  the  tenth  century  and  which  Constantinus  Africanus  car- 
ried on  in  the  eleventh  century.  Adelard  himself  hints  that 
some  of  his  new  ideas  are  not  derived  from  his  Arabian 
masters  but  are  his  own,  and  Haskins  has  well  character- 
ized him  as  a  pioneer  in  the  study  of  natural  science. 
Some  Adelard  has  been  described  as  "a  dim  and  shadowy 

his  career,    figure  in  the  history  of  European  learning,"  ^  and  the  dates 

Louvain,    1480    (?),   and   what   is  served    in    MSS    at   Oxford    and 

supposed  to  be  the  original  MS  at  Munich. 

Eton   College,    161,    (Bl.  6.  16).     I  For  Adelard's  translation  of  the 

have    also     examined     BN    2389,  Liber  Ezich,  or  astronomical  tables 

I2th  century,  fols.  65r-8iv,  Ques-  of  Al-Khowarizmi   (as  revised  by 

tiones  naturales  from  cap.  12  on;  Maslama  at  Cordova),  I  have  used 

fols.  81V-9OV,  De  eodem  et  diverso  H.     Suter,     Die     astronomischen 

(sole  extant  text)  ;  and  BN  6415,  Tafeln  des  Muhammed  ibn  Musa 

14th  century,  w^here  Adelard's  Na-  Al-Khwarizmi,  Copenhagen,   1914. 

tural     Questions    are     found    to-  For     further     bibliography     of 

gether  with  William  of  Conches'  Adelard's  writings  see  the  articles 

Dragmaticon      philosophiac      and  on  Adelard  of  Bath,  by  Professor 

Bernard    Silvester's    Megacosmus  C.  H.  Haskins  in  EHR  26(1911) 

et  microcosmus,  of  which  we  treat  pp.    491-8,    and    28    (1913)    515-6. 

in  succeeding  chapters.    Professor  These  articles  will  henceforth  be 

H.    Gollancz    has    recently    trans-  cited     as     Haskins     (i9'i)     and 

lated  the   Latin  text  into  English  Haskins   (1913). 

for  the  first  time  in  his  Dodi  Ve-  '  De  codem  et  diverso,  p.  32. 

Nechdi,   the    work     of     Berachya  'Haskins    (1911)    P-    49^.    who 

based    upon    Adelard's    and    pre-  has,  however,  himself  done  much 


of  his  birth  and  death  are  unknown.  We  possess,  however, 
a  number  of  his  works  and  some  may  be  either  approxi- 
mately or  exactly  dated.  In  the  preface  to  his  translation  of 
the  astronomical  tables  of  Al-Khowarizmi  he  seems  to  give 
the  year  as  1126}  The  Pipe  Roll  for  1 130  informs  us  that 
Adelard  received  four  shillings  and  six  pence  at  that  time 
from  the  sheriff  of  Wiltshire.  This  suggests  that  he  was  in 
the  employ  of  the  king's  court,^  and  his  brief  treatise  on  the 
astrolabe  seems  to  be  dedicated  to  Prince  Henry  Planta- 
genet,^  later  Henry  H,  and  to  have  been  written  between  1 142 
and  1 146.  It  was  probably  one  of  his  last  works  and  in  it  he 
mentions  specifically  three  earlier  works. ^  Two  other  writ- 
ings, which  are  the  best  known  and  apparently  the  most 
original  of  his  works,  namely  the  Questiones  Natiirales  and 
De  eodem  et  diverso,  may  be  dated  approximately  from  the 
fact  that  they  are  dedicated  respectively  to  Richard,  Bishop 
of  Bayeux  from  1107  to  1133,  and  to  William,  Bishop  of 
Syracuse,  who  died  in  11 15  or  11 16.  Both  works  are  ad- 
dressed to  Adelard's  nephew,  who  is  presumably  the  same 
person  in  both  cases,  one  in  the  form  of  a  letter,  the 
other  of  a  conversation,  and  both  justify  Adelard's  studies 
in  foreign  lands.  In  an  appendix  to  this  chapter  the  ques- 
tion when  these  two  treatises  were  written  and  their  rela- 
tions to  each  other  will  be  discussed  more  fully. 

The  subjects  of  a  majority  of  Adelard's  known  works    Mathe- 
and  translations  are  mathematical  or  astronomical.     The   "gadses 
most  elementary  is  a  treatise  on  the  abacus,  Regnle  ahaci,^ 
in  which  his  chief  authorities  are  Boethius  and  Gerbert  and 
he  seems  as  yet  unacquainted  with  Arabic  mathematics.® 

to  clear  up  this  obscurity.    I  large-  cum    sis    regis    nepos" ;    Haskins 

ly   follow  his   account  in  the  en-  (1913)   PP-  515-6. 

suing     biographical     and     biblio-  *  Namely,     the     translation     of 

graphical    details.  Euclid,  De  eodem  et  diverso,  and 

^  But  the  passage  giving  this  date  Liber  Ezich. 

has  been   found  in  but   one   MS ;  °  Ed.  Boncompagni,  Bullettino  di 

Suter  (1914),  pp.  5,  37.  BibliograHa     e     di     Storia     della 

*  R.    L.    Poole,    The   Exchequer  Sciense  matematiche,  XIV,   1-134. 

in  the  Tzvelfth  Century,  London,  '  Unless  indirectly  through  Ger- 

1912,  p.  56.  bert 

'  CU    McLean     i6s,    "Heynrice 






But  most  of  the  mathematical  treatises  extant  under  Ade- 
lard's  name  are  from  the  Arabic,  such  as  his  translation  of 
Euclid's  Elements;  ^  of  the  astronomical  tables  of  Al-Kho- 
warizmi — who  flourished  under  the  patronage  of  the  caliph 
Al-Mamum  (813-833) — "apparently  as  revised  by  Mas- 
lama  at  Cordova,"  under  the  title  Liber  Ezich;  and,  if  by 
a  "Master  A"  Adelard  is  meant,  of  a  treatise  of  the  first 
half  of  the  twelfth  century  on  the  four  arts  of  the  quadriv- 
ium  and  especially  on  astronomy,  which  is  apparently  also 
a  work  of  Al-Khowarizmi,-  Some  of  the  introductory 
books  on  the  quadrivium  have  been  printed,^  but  "the  as- 
tronomical treatise  has  not  yet  been  specially  studied."  * 
One  therefore  cannot  say  how  far  it  may  indulge  in  astrol- 
ogy, but  we  are  told  that  Adelard  translated  from  the 
Arabic  another  "astrological  treatise,  evidently  of  Abu 
Ma'ashar  Dja'afar,"  ^  or  Albumasar.  We  have  already 
mentioned  in  another  chapter  the  ascription  to  Adelard  of 
one  Latin  translation  of  the  superstitious  work  of  Thebit 
ben  Corat  on  astrological  images,  and  in  the  present  chapter 
the  treatise  on  the  astrolabe  for  Henry  Plantagenet. 

Adelard  was  interested  in  alchemy  as  well  as  astrology 
and  magic,  if  the  attribution  to  him  in  a  thirteenth  century 
manuscript  ®  of  the  twelfth  century  version  of  the  Mappe 
clazncula  is  correct.    We  have  seen  that  the  original  version 

*  The  numerous  MSS  vary  so 
in  text  and  arrangement  that  it  is 
not  clear  whether  Adelard's  work 
in  its  original  form  "was  an 
abridgement,  a  close  translation, 
or  a  commentary,"  (Haskins 
(191 1)  494-5)- 

Professor  David  Eugene  Smith 
states  in  his  forthcoming  edition 
of  Roger  Bacon's  Communia 
Maihematicae,  which  he  has  very 
kindly  permitted  me  to  see  in 
manuscript,  that  Roger  refers  sev- 
eral times  to  Adelard's  Editio 
specialts  super  Elcmcnta  Euclidis 
— "a  work  now  entirely  unknown." 

^  Liber  ysagogarum  Alchorismi 
in  artem  astronomicam  a  magis- 
tro     A.      compositus:       Haskins 

(1911)  p.  493  for  MSS. 

'Ed.  Curtze,  in  Abhandl.  s. 
Gcsch,  d.  Math.,  VIII,  1-27. 

*  Haskins   (1911)   p.  494. 

^  Ibid.,  495,  Ysagoga  minor 
lapharis  niathematici  in  astrono- 
viiam  per  Adelardum  bathonien- 
scni  ex  arabico  sumpta.  It  is  per- 
haps worth  noting  the  similarity 
of  the  Incipit,  "Quicumque  phi- 
losophic scienciam  altiorem  studio 
constanti  inquirens.  .  .  ."  (Digby 
68,  14th  century,  fols.  116-24),  to 
the  three  "Quicumque"  Incipits 
mentioned  in  our  chapter  on  Ger- 
bert  (see  above,  Qiapter  30,  vol.  I, 
page  707.) 

"Royal  IS-C-IV. 




of  that  work  was  much  older  than  Adelard's  time,  but  he 

perhaps  made  additions  to  it,  or  translated  a  fuller  Arabic 

version.    The  occurrence  of  some  Arabic  and  English  words 

in  certain  chapters  of  the  later  copies  are  perhaps  signs  of 

his  contributions.     Berthelot,  however,  thought  that  few  of 

the  new  items  in  the  twelfth  century  version  originated  with 

Adelard  and  that  many  of  the  additions  were  taken  by  him, 

or  by  whoever  was  responsible  for  the  later  version,  from 

Greek  rather  than  Arabic  sources.^ 

Our  attention  will  be  devoted  chiefly  to  the  two  treatises    Impor- 

by  Adelard  which  we  have  already  mentioned  as  the  most    the  Nafit- 

original  of  his  works.    Of  these  the  Natural  Questions  are    ralQues- 

.  .  .     tions. 

evidently  much  more  important  than  the  De  eodern  et  di- 

rerso,  which  is  largely  taken  up  with  a  justification,  in  the 
style  of  allegorical  personification  made  so  popular  by  Mar- 
tianus  Capella  and  Boethius,  and  with  much  use  of  Plato's 
Timaeus,  of  the  seven  liberal  arts  against  the  five  worldly 
interests  of  wealth,  power,  ambition,  dignities,  and  pleasure. 
The  Natural  Questions,  although  put  into  a  dramatic  dia- 
logue form  somewhat  reminiscent  of  Plato,  deal  without 
much  persiflage  with  a  number  of  concrete  problems  of 
natural  science  to  which  definite  answers  are  attempted. 

Adelard  opens  the  Natural  Questions  with  brief  allusion  Occasion 
to  the  pleasant  reunion  with  the  friends  who  greeted  him  °  ^^^  ^"^' 
upon  his  return  to  England  in  the  reign  of  Henry  I  after 
long  absence  from  his  native  land  for  the  sake  of  study. 
After  the  usual  inquiries  had  been  made  concerning  one 
another's  health  and  that  of  their  friends,  Adelard  asked 
about  "the  morals  of  our  nation,"  only  to  learn  that  "princes 
were  violent,  prelates  wine-bibbers,  judges  mercenary,  pa- 
trons inconstant,  the  common  men  flatterers,  promise-makers 
false,  friends  envious,  and  everyone  in  general  ambitious." 
Adelard  declared  that  he  had  no  intention  of  conforming  to 
this  wretched  state  of  affairs,  and  when  asked  what  he  did 

'Berthelot  (1906)  172-77.  "Ade- 
lard de  Bath  et  le  Mappe  Clavi- 
cula."    as    well    as    the    citations 

from  other  writings  of  Berthelot 
by  Haskins    (1911)   495-6. 




intend  to  do,  since  he  would  not  practice  and  could  not  pre- 
vent such  "moral  depravity,"  replied  that  he  intended  to  ig- 
nore it,  "for  oblivion  is  the  only  remedy  for  insurmountable 
ills."  Accordingly  that  subject  was  dropped,  and  presently 
his  nephew  suggested  and  the  others  joined  in  urging  that 
he  disclose  to  them  "something  new  from  my  Arabian 
studies."  ^  From  the  sordid  practical  world  back  to  the 
pure  light  and  ideals  of  science  and  philosophy!  Such  has 
been  the  frequent  refrain  of  our  authors  from  Vitruvius 
and  Galen,  from  Firmicus  and  Boethius  on.  It  is  further 
enlarged  upon  by  Adelard  in  the  De  cod  em  ct  diuerso;  it  has 
not  quite  lost  its  force  even  today ;  and  parallels  to  Adelard's 
twelfth  century  lament  on  England's  going  to  the  dogs  may 
be  found  in  after-the-war  letters  to  The  London  Times  of 

The  result  of  the  request  preferred  by  Adelard's  friends 
is  the  present  treatise  in  the  form  of  a  dialogue  with  his 
nephew,  who  proposes  by  a  succession  of  questions  to  force 
his  uncle  to  justify  his  preference  for  "the  opinions  of  the 
Saracens"  over  those  of  the  Christian  "schools  of  Gaul" 
where  the  nephew  has  pursued  his  studies.  The  nephew 
is  described  as  "interested  rather  than  expert  in  natural 
science"  ^  in  the  Natural  Questions,  while  a  passage  in  the 
De  eodem  et  diverso  implies  that  his  training  in  Gaul  had 
been  largely  of  the  usual  rhetorical  and  dialectical  charac- 
ter, since  Adelard  says  to  him,  "Do  you  keep  watch  wdiether 
I  speak  aright,  observing  that  modest  silence  which  is  your 
custom  amidst  the  w^ordy  war  of  sophisms  and  the  affected 
locutions  of  rhetoric."  ^  In  the  Natural  Questions  the 
nephew%  as  befits  his  now  maturer  years,  has  more  to  say, 
raising  some  objections  and  stating  some  theories  as  well  as 
propounding  his  questions,  but  Adelard's  answers  consti- 
tute the  bulk  of  the  book.     Beginning  w-ith  earth  and  plants, 

*  "Aliquid  arabicorum  studiorum 
novum  me  proponere  exhortatus." 

'  "Nepos  quidam  meus  in  rerum 
causis  magis  implicans  quam 

*  Dc  eodcm  et  diverso.  p.  2,  "Tu 

utrum  recte  texam  animadverte. 
et  ea  qua  soles  vel  in  sophismatum 
vcrboso  agmine  vel  in  rhetoricae 
afFectuosa  elocutione  modesta  taci- 
turnitate  utere." 


the  questions  range  in  an  ascending  scale  through  the  lower 
animals  to  human  physiology  and  psychology  and  then  to 
the  grander  cosmic  phenomena  of  sea,  air,  and  sky. 

In  agreeing  to  follow  this  method  of  question  and  answer  "Modem 
Adelard  explains  at  the  start  that  on  account  of  the  preju-  ^^^^p^^^r- 
dice  of  the  present  generation  against  any  modern  ^  discov- 
eries he  will  attribute  even  his  own  ideas  to  someone  else, 
and  that,  if  what  he  says  proves  displeasing  to  less  advanced 
students  because  unfamiliar,  the  blame  for  this  should  be 
attached  to  the  Arabs  and  not  to  himself.  "For  I  am  aware 
what  misfortunes  pursue  the  professors  of  truth  among  the 
common  crowd.  Therefore  it  is  the  cause  of  the  Arabs  that 
1  plead,  not  my  own."  ^  This  is  a  very  interesting  passage 
in  more  ways  than  one.  Adelard  appears  as  an  exponent  of 
the  new  scientific  school,  stimulated  by  contact  with  Arabian 
culture.  He  is  confident  that  he  has  valuable  new  truth,  but 
is  less  confident  as  to  the  reception  which  it  will  receive. 
The  hostility,  however,  in  the  Latin  learned  world  is  not,  as 
one  might  expect,  to  Mohammedan  learning.  The  process 
of  taking  over  Arabic  learning  has  apparently  already  be- 
gun— as  indeed  we  have  seen  from  our  previous  chapters — 

^  Adelard    uses    the    word    mo-  Itaque — ne    omnino    non   audiar — 

dernus   a    number    of    times,    and  omnes      meas      sententias      dans, 

usually  of  his  own  age,  although  'Quidam    invenit,   non    ego.'      Sed 

in  one  passage  of  the  De  codcin  haec  hactenus. 

et  diver  so  (p.  7,  line  3)  he  speaks  .  .  .  hoc    tamen    vitato     incom- 

of   the  Latin  writers,  Cicero  and  modo  ne  quis  me  ignota  proferen- 

Boethius,  as  modernos  in  distinc-  tern   ex    mea   id    sententia    facere, 

tion   from   Greek  philosophers  of  varum  arabicorum  studiorum  sen- 

whom    he    has     previously     been  sa    putet    proponere.     Nolo    enim 

speaking.    Other  uses  of  the  word  si    quae    dixero    minus    provectis 

in  De  eodem  et  divcrso  to  apply  displiciant,     ego     etiam     eis     dis- 

to  his  own  age  are :  p.  3,  line  3 ;  plicere.    Novi  enim  quis  casus  veri 

p.   ic),  line  24;  p.  22,  line  33.  professores  apud  vulgus  sequatur. 

Cassiodorus    is    said    to   be   the  Quare     causam    arabicorum     non 

first    extant    author    to    use    mo-  meam  agam." 

dsrnus.  In    the    catalogue    of    books    at 

'Quest,  nat.,  Proemium.  "Habet  Christ  Church,  Canterbury,  which 

enim     haec     generatio     ingenitum  was    drawn    up    while    Henry    of 

vitium   ut  nihil   quod   a   modernis  Eastry  was  prior  (1284-1331),  our 

reperiatur    putent    esse    recipien-  treatise    is    listed    as    "Athelardus 

dum,  unde  fit  ut  si  quando  inven-  de  naturalibus  questionibus  secun- 

tum  proprium  publicare  voluerim,  dum  Arabicos" :  James    (1903)    p. 

personae   id   alienae  imponens   in-  126. 
quam,    'Quidam    dixit,    non    ego,' 


and  Adelard's  Christian  friends  are  ready  enough  to  hear 
what  he  has  learned  in  Mohammedan  lands  and  schools,  al- 
though of  course  they  may  not  accept  it  after  they  have  heard 
it.  But  he  fears  that  he  "would  not  get  a  hearing  at  all," 
if  he  should  put  forward  new  views  as  his  own.  Indeed, 
he  himself  shows  a  similar  prejudice  against  other  novel- 
ties than  his  own  in  a  passage  in  the  De  eodem,  where  he 
speaks  impatiently  and  contemptuously  of  "those  who  harass 
our  ears  with  daily  novelties"  and  of  "the  new  Platos  and 
Aristotles  to  whom  each  day  gives  birth,  who  with  unblush- 
ing front  proclaim  alike  things  which  they  know  and  of 
which  they  know  nothing,  and  whose  supreme  trust  is  in 
extreme  verbosity."  ^  Adelard  of  course  regarded  his  own 
new  ideas  as  of  more  solid  worth  than  these,  but  the  fact 
remains  that  he  was  not  after  all  the  only  one  who  was  in- 
terested in  promulgating  novelties.  Yet  his  justification  for 
writing  the  De  eodem  is  the  silence  of  "the  science  of  the 
moderns"  compared  with  the  fluency  of  the  ancients,  of 
whose  famous  writings  he  has  read  "not  all,  but  the  greater 
part."  ^  It  is  not  necessary,  of  course,  to  regard  this  passage 
and  the  preceding  as  inconsistent,  but  it  is  well  to  read  the 
one  in  the  light  of  the  other. 
Medieval  But  let  US  return  to  the  passage  from  the  Natural  Ques- 

wronglv  tions  and  Adelard's  insinuation — slightly  satirical  no  doubt, 
credited  but  also  in  part  serious — that  he  has  fathered  new  scientific 
and  Arab,  nptions  of  his  own  upon  the  Arabs.  There  is  reason  to  think 
that  he  was  not  the  only  one  to  do  this.  Not  only  were 
superstitious  and  comparatively  worthless  treatises  which 
were  composed  in  the  medieval  period  attributed  to  Aris- 
totle and  other  famous  authors,  but  this  was  also  the  case 
with  works  of  real  value.     Also  the  number  is  suspiciously 

*  P.  7,  "Cui  tandem  eorum  ere-  fiducia." 

dendum    est    qui    cotidianis    novi-  ^  De    eodem,    p.    i,    "Dum    pris- 

tatibus  aures  vexant?     Et  assidue  corum     virorum     scripta     famosa 

quidem    etiam    nunc    cotidie    Pla-  non    omnia    sed    pleraque    perle- 

tones,  Aristoteles  novi  nobis  nas-  gerim    eorumque    facultatem    cum 

cuntur,  qui  aeque  ea  quae  nesciant  modernorum      scientia      compara- 

ut  et  ea  quae   sciant  sine   frontis  verim,  et  illos  facundos  judico  et 

jectura      promittunt ;      estque      in  hos   taciturnos   appello." 
summa  verbositate  summa  eorum 


large  of  works  of  which  the  lost  originals  were  supposedly 
by  Greek  or  Arabian  authors  but  which  are  extant  only  in 
later  Latin  "translations." 

This  point  may  be  specifically  illustrated  for  the  moment  Illustrated 
from  the  researches  of  Berthelot  among  alchemistic  manu-  h^st'orvof 
scripts,  which  have  demonstrated  that  Latin  alchemy  of  the  alchemy, 
thirteenth  century  was  less  superstitious  and  more  scientific 
than  in  previous  periods,  whether  among  the  ancient  Greeks 
or  more  recent  Arabs.  He  found  but  one  treatise  in  Arabic 
which  contained  precise  and  minute  details  about  chemical 
substances  and  operations.  As  a  rule  the  Arabian  alche- 
mists wrote  "theoretical  works  full  of  allegories  and  declama- 
tion." For  a  long  time  several  works,  important  in  the  his- 
tory of  chemistry  as  well  as  of  alchemy,  were  regarded  as 
Latin  translations  of  the  Arab,  Geber.  But  Berthelot  dis- 
covered the  Arabic  manuscripts  of  the  real  Geber,  which 
turned  out  to  be  of  little  value  and  largely  copied  from 
Greek  authors.  On  the  other  hand,  the  Latin  works  which 
had  gone  under  Geber's  name  were  produced  in  the  thir- 
teenth and  fourteenth  centuries  by  men  who  seem,  like  Ade- 
lard  of  Bath,  to  have  preferred  to  ascribe  their  own  ideas  to 
the  Arabs,  Let  us  examine  for  a  moment  with  Berthelot  ^ 
the  chief  of  these  Latin  treatises.  It  is  a  "a  systematic 
work,  very  well  arranged.  Its  modest  method  of  exposi- 
tion" differs  greatly  from  "the  vague  and  excessive  prom- 
ises of  the  real  Geber."  Much  of  the  book  possesses  "a 
truly  scientific  character"  and  "shows  the  state  of  chemical 
knowledge  with  a  precision  of  thought  and  expression  un- 
known to  previous  authors."  As  for  Adelard's  new  ideas, 
we  may  not  regard  them  as  so  novel  as  they  seemed  to  him, 
nor  estimate  them  so  highly  in  comparison  with  ancient 
Greek  science  as  Berthelot  did  medieval  compared  with 
Greek  alchemy — much  of  Adelard's  thought  may  be  derived 
by  him  from  those  ancient  writings  in  which  he  claims  to 
have  read  so  widely — but  they  were  probably  as  new  to  Ade- 
lard's Latin  contemporaries  as  they  were  to  himself. 
'Berthelot  (1893)  I,  344-7- 






While  Adelard's  English  friends  displayed  no  bigoted  op- 
position to  the  reception  of  Saracen  science,  the  question 
of  science  and  religion  is  raised  in  another  connection  in 
the  very  first  of  the  questions  concerning  nature  which  the 
nephew  puts  to  his  uncle.  The  nephew  inquires  the  reason 
for  the  growth  of  herbs  from  earth,  asking,  "To  what  else 
can  you  attribute  this  save  to  the  marvelous  effect  of  the 
marvelous  divine  will?"  Adelard  retorts  that  no  doubt  it 
is  the  Creator's  will,  but  that  the  operation  is  also  not  with- 
out a  natural  reason.  This  attitude  of  independent  scien- 
tific investigation  is  characteristic  of  Adelard.  Again  in 
the  fourth  chapter  when  the  nephew  displays  a  tendency  to 
ascribe  all  effects  to  God  indifferently  as  cause,  Adelard  ob- 
jects. He  insists  that  he  is  detracting  in  no  way  from  God, 
whom  he  grants  to  be  the  source  of  all  things,  but  he  holds 
that  nature  "is  not  confused  and  without  system"  and  that 
"human  science  should  be  given  a  hearing  upon  those  points 
which  it  has  covered."  On  the  other  hand  he  has  no  de- 
sire in  the  present  treatise  to  overstep  the  bounds  of  natural 
science  and  enter  the  field  of  theology.  When  his  nephew 
towards  the  close  wishes  him  to  go  on  and  discuss  the  prob- 
lem of  God's  existence  and  nature,  he  wisely  responds,  "You 
are  now  broaching  a  question  to  me  where  it  is  easier  to 
disprove  what  isn't  so  than  to  demonstrate  what  is,"  ^  and 
that  they  had  better  go  to  bed  and  leave  this  big  question  for 
another  day  and  another  treatise.^ 

Besides  preferring  the  learning  of  Arabian  and  other 
distant  lands  to  the  schools  of  Gaul,  and  favoring  scientific 
investigation  rather  than  unquestioning  faith,  Adelard  also 
sets  reason  above  authority.  He  not  only  complains  of  his 
generation's  inborn  prejudice  against  new  ideas,  but  later 
on,  when  his  nephew  proposes  to  turn  his  questions  from 
the  subject  of  plants  to  that  of  animals,  enters  upon  a  longer 
diatribe  against  scholastic  reliance  upon  past  authorities.  "It 
is  difficult  for  me  to  discuss  animals  with  you.    For  I  learned 

*  Cap.  yy.    I  cite  chapters  as  numbered  in  the  editio  princeps. 
^  To  which  the  nephew  cheerfully  assents. 




from  my  Arabian  masters  under  the  leading  of  reason ;  you, 
however,  captivated  by  the  appearance  of  authority,  follow 
your  halter.  Since  what  else  should  authority  be  called  than 
a  halter?  For  just  as  brutes  are  led  where  one  wills  by  a 
halter,  so  the  authority  of  past  writers  leads  not  a  few  of 
you  into  danger,  held  and  bound  as  you  are  by  bestial 
credulity.  Consequently  some,  usurping  to  themselves  the 
name  of  authority,  have  used  excessive  license  in  writing, 
so  that  they  have  not  hesitated  to  teach  bestial  men  false- 
hood in  place  of  truth.  For  why  shouldn't  you  fill  rolls  of 
parchment  and  write  on  both  sides,  when  in  this  age  you 
generally  have  auditors  who  demand  no  rational  judgment 
but  trust  simply  in  the  mention  of  an  old  title?"  ^  Adelard 
adds  that  those  who  are  now  reckoned  authorities  gained 
credence  in  the  first  instance  by  following  reason,  asserts  that 
authority  alone  is  not  enough  to  convince,  and  concludes  with 
the  ultimatum  to  his  nephew :  "Wherefore,  if  you  want  to 
hear  anything  more  from  me,  give  and  take  reason.  For  I'm 
not  the  sort  of  man  that  can  be  fed  on  a  picture  of  a  beef- 
steak." 2 

The  history  of  natural  philosophy  and  science  has  demon- 
strated that  the  unaided  human  reason  has  not  been  equal 

to  the  solution  of  the  problems  of  the  natural  universe,  and    micro- 
scope al- 
that  elaborate  and  extensive  observation,   experience,   and    ready  felt. 

measurement  of  the  natural  phenomena  are  essential.  But 
exact  scientific  measurement  was  not  possible  with  the  un- 
aided human  senses  and  required  the  invention  of  scientific 
instruments.  As  Adelard  says  in  De  eodem  et  diverso,  "The 
senses  are  reliable  neither  in  respect  to  the  greatest  nor  the 
smallest  objects.  Who  has  ever  comprehended  the  space  of 
the  sky  with  the  sense  of  sight?  .  .  .  Who  has  ever  distin- 
guished minute  atoms  with  the  eye?"  ^  Notable  natural 
questions  these,  showing  that  the  need  of  the  telescope  and 

^  Quest,  nat.,  cap.  6.  Non    enim    ego    ille    sum    quern 

*  Quest,  nat.,  cap.  6,  "Quare,  si  pellis  pictura  pascere  possit." 

quid    amplius    a    me    audire    de-  ^  D^   eodem  et  diverso,  p.   13. 

sideras,  rationem  refer  et   recipe. 

Need  of 
the  tele- 
scope and 





microscope  was  already  felt  and  that  the  discovery  must  in 
due  time  follow ! 

We  must  not,  therefore,  unduly  blame  Adelard  for  plac- 
ing, like  the  Greek  philosophers  before  him,  somewhat  ex- 
cessive trust  in  human  reason  and  believing  that  "nothing  is 
surer  than  reason,  nothing  falser  than  the  senses."  ^  But 
in  consequence  much  of  his  discussion  is  still  in  the  specu- 
lative stage,  and  uncle  as  well  as  nephew  shows  the  influ- 
ence of  dialectical  training.  Some  quaint  and  amusing  in- 
stances may  be  given.  Asked  why  men  do  not  have  horns 
like  some  other  animals,  Adelard  at  first  objects  to  the  ques- 
tion as  trivial ;  but  when  his  nephew  urges  the  utility  of 
horns  as  weapons  of  defence,  he  replies  that  man  has  reason 
instead  of  horns,  and  that,  as  a  social  as  well  as  bellicose 
animal,  man  requires  weapons  which  he  can  lay  aside  in 
times  of  peace.^  Asked  why  the  nose,  with  its  impurities, 
is  placed  above  the  mouth,  through  which  we  eat,  Adelard 
answers  that  nothing  in  nature  is  impure,  and  that  the  nose 
serves  the  head  and  so  should  be  above  the  mouth  which 
serves  the  stomach.^  Such  arguing  from  the  fitness  of 
things  and  from  design  was  common  in  the  Greek  philoso- 
phers whom  Adelard  had  read,  and  in  judging  his  treatise 
we  must  compare  it  with  such  books  as  the  Saturnalia  of 
Macrobius  which  he  cites,'*  the  Natural  Questions  of  Seneca, 
Plato's  Timaeiis,  and  the  Problems  of  Aristotle,^  rather  than 
with  works  of  modern  science. 

It  is  noteworthy,  however,  even  in  these  two  amusing 
instances  that  the  argument  from  design  is  questioned,  while 
the  question  about  horns  Adelard  perhaps  inserted  as  a  sly 
hit  against  the  militarism  of  the  feudal  age.  Little  recked 
he  of  the  horrible  substitutes  for  horns  that  twentieth  cen- 

^De  eodem  et  diverse,  p.  13. 

^  Quest,  nat.,  cap.  15. 

*  Ibid.,  cap.  19. 

*Ibid.,  cap.  35- 

'The  ascription  of  this  work  to 
Aristotle  is  questioned  by  D'Arcy 
W.  Thompson  (1913),  14.  note, 
who  calls  attention  to  the  fact  that 

the  majority  of  the  numerous 
place-names  in  it  are  from  south- 
ern Italy  or  Sicily ;  "and  I  live  in 
hopes  of  seeing  this  work,  or  a 
very  large  portion  of  it,  ex- 
punged, for  this  and  other 
weightier  reasons,  from  the 
canonical    writings    of    Aristotle." 


tury  warfare  would  work  out  with  the  aid  of  modern  sci- 
ence. The  medieval  church  has  too  often  been  wildly  ac- 
cused of  persecuting  natural  scientists  and  it  has  been 
erroneously  stated  that  Roger  Bacon  dared  not  reveal  the  se- 
cret of  the  mariner's  compass — which  really  was  well  known 
before  his  time — for  fear  of  being-  accused  of  magic. ^  There 
is  somewhat  more  plausibility  in  the  theory  that  he  con- 
oealed  the  invention  of  gunpowder  from  fear  of  the  inquisi- 
tion,^ since  there  appears  to  have  been  a  certain  medieval 
prejudice  against  inhuman  war  inventions,  which  historians 
of  artillery  somewhat  impatiently  ascribe  to  "ignorance,  re- 
ligion, and  chivalry,"  and  which  they  hold  prevented  the  use 
of  Greek  fire  in  the  west.^  At  any  rate  in  Adelard's  day  the 
Second  Lateran  Council  attempted  to  prohibit  the  use  of 
military  engines  against  men  on  the  ground  that  they  were 
too  murderous.^ 

Returning  to  the  Natural  Questions,  we  may  note  that,   Speci- 
like  the  Problems  of  Aristotle,  they  vary  from  such  crude   l^g^ieval 
queries  as  might  occur  to  any  curious  person  without  scien-  scientific 
tific  training  to  others  that  imply  some  previous  theory  or 
knowledge.    A  list  of  some  of  them  will  illustrate  the  scope 
of  the  scientific  curiosity  of  the  time.     When  one  tree  is 
grafted  upon  another,  why  is  all  the  fruit  of  the  nature  of 
the  grafted  portion?    Why  do  some  brutes  ruminate;  why 
are  some  animals  without  stomachs ;  and  why  do  some  which 
drink  make  no  water?     Why  do  men  grow  bald  in  front? 
Why  do  some  animals  see  better  in  the  night  than  in  the 
day  and  why  can  a  man  standing  in  the  dark  see  objects  that 
are  in  the  light,  while  a  man  standing  in  the  light  cannot  see 
objects  that  are  in  the  dark?     Why  are  the  fingers  of  the 
human  hand  of  unequal  length  and  the  palm  hollow  ?    Why 

•^  See  below,  chapter  61,  page62i,  de  Pisan  at  pp.  219-20,  however, 
*  I  refute  this  theory,  however,  it  seems  to  me  that  she  has  refer- 
in  Appendix  II  to  the  chapter  on  ence  only  to  the  poisons  last- 
Bacon,  named  and  not  to  the  Greek  fires 
'  Reinaud  et  Fave,  Le  feu  previously  named  in  declaring 
gregeois  et  Ics  origines  de  la  them  inhuman  and  against  all  the 
Poudre  a  canon,  (1845)  p.  210.  laws  of  war. 
In   the    quotation    from    Christine  *  Ibid.,  p.  128. 




don't  babies  walk  as  soon  as  they  are  born,  and  why  are  they 
at  first  nourished  upon  milk,  and  why  doesn't  milk  agree 
equally  with  old  and  young?  Why  do  we  fear  dead  bodies?^ 
A  number  of  questions  are  devoted  to  each  of  the  topics, 
vision,  hearing,  and  heat,  while  the  senses  of  taste,  smell,  and 
touch  are  dismissed  in  a  single  question  and  answer.^ 
Theory  of  The  discussion  of  sound  and  vision  may  be  noted  more 

fully.  The  nephew  has  already  learned  from  his  Boethius 
something  similar  to  the  wave  theory  of  sound.  He  states 
that  when  the  air  has  been  formed  by  the  mouth  of  the 
speaker  and  impelled  by  the  tongue,  it  impresses  the  same 
form  upon  that  which  is  next  to  it,  and  that  this  process 
is  repeated  over  and  over  just  as  concentric  circles  are 
formed  when  a  stone  is  thrown  into  water. ^  Vitruvius  had 
given  the  same  explanation  in  discussing  the  acoustics  of  a 
theater.^  But  when  the  nephew  asks  his  uncle  how  the 
voice  can  penetrate  an  iron  wall,  Adelard  replies  that  every 
metal  body,  no  matter  how  solid,  has  some  pores  through 
which  the  air  can  pass.^  Thus  he  appears  to  regard  air  as 
the  only  substance  which  can  transmit  or  conduct  sound 
waves.  His  notion  that  air  can  pass  through  solids  reminds 
one  a  little  of  the  milder  theory  of  Hero  of  Alexandria  that 
heat  and  light  consist  of  material  particles  which  penetrate 
the  interstices  between  the  atoms  composing  air  and  water.® 
But  it  hardly  seems  as  if  Adelard  could  have  derived  his 
notion  from  Hero,  since  the  impermeability  of  metal  ves- 
sels to  air  is  a  fundamental  hypothesis  in  many  of  the  de- 
vices of  Hero's  Pneumatics. 

^  The   questions   thus    far   listed  thrown    into    smooth    water,    and 

occur  in  the  order  of  mention  in  which   keep    on    spreading    indefi- 

the   following   chapters :   6,   7,    10,  nitely   from  the  center  unless  in- 

II,  20,  12,  30,  36,  37,  38,  39,  40,  46.  terrupted  by  narrow  limits,  or  by 

*  Quest,  not.,  cap.  31.  some   obstruction    which   prevents 

'  Qttcst.  not.,  cap.  21.  such    waves    from    reaching   their 

*De     architectura,     V,      iii,     6  end  in  due  formation.    When  they 

(Morgan's    translation).      "Voice  are    interrupted    by    obstructions, 

is   a    flowing   breath   of   air,   per-  the     first     waves,     flowing    back, 

ceptible  to  the  hearing  by  contact.  break  up  the   formation  of  those 

It  moves  in  an  endless  number  of  whkh   follow, 

circular  rounds,  like  the  innumer-  °  Quest,  tuit.,  cap.  22. 

ably     increasing     circular     waves  *  See   above,   chapter    5,    vol.    I, 

which    appear    when    a    stone    is  page   191. 


Aclelard's  theory  of  vision,  that  of  extramission  of  "a  Theory  of 
visible  spirit,"  is  similar  to  that  of  Plato  in  the  Timaeus, 
by  which  he  was  not  unlikely  influenced.  The  visible  spirit 
passes  from  the  brain  to  the  eye  through  "concave  nerves 
which  the  Greeks  call  optic,"  and  from  the  eye  to  the  object 
seen  and  back  again  "with  marvelous  celerity."  ^  It  would 
be  interesting  to  know  certainly  whether  Adelard  penned  this 
passage  before  John  of  Spain  translated  into  Latin  the  De 
differentia  spiritiis  et  animae,  in  which  Costa  ben  Luca 
speaks  of  "hollow  nerves"  from  the  brain  to  the  eye  through 
which  the  spiriUis  passes  for  the  purpose  of  vision.^  Ap- 
parently Adelard  was  first,  since  the  Natural  Questiotis  were 
finished  at  some  time  between  1107  and  1133,  while  John 
of  Spain  is  said  to  have  made  his  translation  for  Raymond 
who  was  archbishop  of  Toledo  from  11 30  to  11 50.  Were 
the  manuscripts  not  so  insistent  in  naming  John  as  trans- 
lator,^ we  might  think  that  Adelard  had  translated  the  De 
differentia  spiritiis  et  animae.  Very  possibly  he  had  come 
across  it  during  his  study  with  Arabian  masters.  But  he 
shows  no  acquaintance  with  the  optical  researches  of  Al- 
Hazen  or  with  the  treatise  on  Optics  ascribed  to  Ptolemy, 
which  last  is  extant  only  in  the  twelfth  century  Latin  trans- 
lation by  Eugene  of  Palermo,  admiral  of  Sicily.^  How- 
ever, the  fact  that  three  other  theories  of  vision  than  the 
one  which  Adelard  accepts  are  set  forth  by  his  nephew  sug- 
gests that  the  problem  was  attracting  attention.  Pliny's 
Natural  History  gave  no  theory  of  vision  whatever,  al- 
though he  listed  various  cases  of  extraordinary  sight. 
Boethius,  on  the  other  hand,  briefly  adverted  to  the  opposing 
theories  of  vision  by  extramission  and  intramission  in  the 
first  chapter  of  his  work  on  music.  As  for  the  marvelous 
celerity  of  the  visible  spirit,  Augustine  had  enlarged  upon 
the  vast  distance  to  the  sun  and  back  traveled  by  the  visual 
ray  in  an  instant  or  twinkling  of  an  eye.^ 

'  Quest,  nat.,  cap.  2^.  *  See  above,  chapter  3,  page  107. 

'See  above,  chapter  28,  I,  659.  ^ De  Gcncsi  ad  litteram,  IV,  34; 

*  See  above,  chapter  28,  I,  657.  Migne,  PL  34,  319-20. 



from  hot 
and  cold, 
moist  and 

ment of 
the  four 

Throughout  the  Naturcd  Questions  Adelard's  explana- 
tions and  answers  are  based  in  large  measure  upon  the 
familiar  hypothesis  of  the  four  elements  and  of  the  four 
qualities,  hot  and  cold,  dry  and  moist.  When  asked,  for 
instance,  why  all  ruminating  animals  begin  to  lie  down 
with  their  hind  legs,  he  explains  that  their  scanty  animal 
heat  is  the  cause  of  their  ruminating  to  aid  digestion,  and 
that  there  is  more  frigidity  in  their  posterior  members, 
which  are  consequently  heavier  and  so  are  bent  first  in  re- 
clining. The  nephew  thinks  that  here  he  has  caught  his 
uncle  napping,  and  asks  why  is  it  then  that  in  rising  they 
lift  themselves  first  onto  their  hind  legs.  But  Adelard  is  not 
to  be  so  easily  nonplussed,  and  explains  that  after  they  have 
lain  down  and  rested,  they  feel  so  refreshed  that  they  lift 
their  heavier  limbs  first. ^  Again,  asked  why  persons  of 
quick  perception  often  have  faulty  memories,  Adelard  sug- 
gests that  a  moist  brain  is  more  conducive  to  intelligence, 
but  a  dry  one  to  memory.  Thus  moist  potter's  clay  receives 
impressions  more  readily  but  also  easily  loses  them;  what 
is  drier  receives  the  impression  with  more  difficulty  but  re- 
tains it.^  In  a  third  passage,  Adelard  explains  his  nephew's 
weeping  in  his  joy  at  seeing  his  uncle  safely  returned  by 
the  theory  that  his  excessive  delight  overheated  his  brain 
and  distilled  moisture  thence.^ 

Adelard,  however,  like  Galen,  Constantinus  Africanus, 
Basil,  and  other  writers  before  him,  finds  it  advisable  to  re- 
fine the  theory  of  the  four  elements.  He  is  at  pains  in  his  an- 
swer to  the  nephew's  very  first  question  to  explain  that  what 
we  commonly  call  earth  is  not  the  element  earth,  and  that  no 
one  ever  touched  the  pure  element  water,  or  saw  the  ele- 
ments air  and  fire.  Every  particular  object  contains  all  four 
elements  and  we  deal  in  daily  life  only  with  compounds. 
In  an  herb,  for  instance,  unless  there  were  fire,  there  would 
be  no  growth  upward ;  unless  there  were  water  or  air,  no 

*  Quest,  nat.,  caps.  8-9. 

'Ibid.,  cap.  17. 

^  Ibid.,  cap.  32.    On  "weeping  as 

a    salutation,"    see    J. 
(1918)  11,82-93. 

G.    Frazer 




spreading  out;  and  without  earth,  no  consistency.  More- 
over, when  Adelard  is  asked  why  some  herbs  are  spoken  of 
as  hot  by  nature,  although  all  plants  have  more  earth  than 
fire  in  their  composition,  he  says  that  while  earth  predomi- 
nates quantitatively,  efficaciously  they  are  more  fiery,  just 
as  his  green  cloak  is  larger  than  his  green  emerald,  but  much 
less  potent.^  Thus  comes  in  the  theory  of  occult  virtue 
to  help  out  the  inadequate  and  unsatisfactory  hypothesis  of 
four  elements  and  four  qualities.  We  shall  find  our  subse- 
quent authors  often  resorting  to  the  same  explanation. 

Adelard  may  believe  in  the  marvelous  virtue  of  emeralds, 
to  which  indeed  he  alludes  rather  inadvertently,  but  we  do 
not  find  in  the  Natural  Questions  any  of  the  common  tales 
concerning  remarkable  animal  sagacity  or  malice.  This 
may  be  mere  accident  or  it  may  be  due  to  his  warning  in 
introducing  the  discussion  of  animals  to  give  and  take  rea- 
son only.  However,  the  question  is  discussed  whether  the 
brutes  possess  souls,^  and  he  states  that  the  common  people 
are  sure  that  they  do  not,  and  that  only  philosophers  assert 
that  animals  have  souls.  This  does  not  mean  that  their  souls 
are  rational,  however:  either  animals  possess  "neither  intelli- 
gence nor  discretion  but  only  opinion  which  is  founded  not 
in  the  soul  but  in  the  body" ;  or  perhaps  they  have  "some 
judgment  why  they  seek  and  avoid  certain  things,"  and 
such  discretion  of  sense  as  enables  a  dog  to  distinguish  scents. 
If  they  possess  such  animal  souls,  do  these  perish  with  the 

Adelard  is  correctly  informed  as  to  the  shape  of  the 
earth  and  its  center  of  gravity.  Asked  how  the  terrestrial 
globe  is  upheld  in  the  midst  of  space,  he  retorts  that  in  a 
round  space  it  is  evident  that  the  center  and  the  bottom  are 
the  same.^  This  thought  is  reinforced  by  the  next  question, 
If  there  were  a  hole  clear  through  the  earth  and  a  stone 
were  dropped  in,  how  far  would  it  fall?  Adelard  correctly 
answers.  Only  to  the  center  of  the  earth.     The  same  ques- 


shape  and 
center  of 

^  Quest,  nat.,  cap.  2. 
*  Ibid.,  caps.  13-14. 

*  Ibid.,  cap. 



of  matter. 


stated  by 
Hugh  of 
St.  Victor. 

tion  is  asked  of  Adelard  by  a  Greek  in  the  De  eodem  et 
diverso,  so  that,  in  case  we  regard  the  De  eodem  as  written 
before  the  Natural  Questions,  it  would  appear  that  he  had 
not  derived  his  conclusion  in  this  matter  from  either  the 
Greeks  or  the  Arabs.  However,  we  have  heard  Plutarch 
scofif  at  the  statement  that  bars  weighing  a  thousand  talents 
would  stop  falling  at  the  earth's  center,  if  a  hole  were  opened 
up  through  the  earth.^ 

In  a  recent  review  of  Sir  William  Ramsay's  The  Life 
and  Letters  of  Joseph  Black,  M.D.,  it  is  stated,  "The  nature 
of  the  experiment  he  (Black)  made  is  not  now  known,  but 
his  tremendous  comment  on  it  was,  'Nothing  escapes!' 
Have  we  here  really  the  first  glimmering  of  the  great  prin- 
ciple of  the  indestructibility  of  matter  which,  with  the  asso- 
ciated principle  regarding  energy,  forms  the  foundation  of 
modern  chemistry  and  physics?"^  To  this  the  answer  is, 
"No."  Adelard  of  Bath  stated  the  indestructibility  of  mat- 
ter eight  centuries  earlier,  and  apparently  not  as  the  result 
of  any  experiment.  But  his  utterance  was  fuller  and  more 
explicit  than  that  of  Black.  "And  certainly  in  my  judg- 
ment nothing  in  this  world  of  sense  ever  perishes  utterly,  or 
is  less  today  than  when  it  was  created.  H  any  part  is  dis- 
solved from  one  union,  it  does  not  perish  but  is  joined  to 
some  other  group,"  ^ 

The  indestructibility  of  matter  is  also  stated  by  Ade- 
lard's  contemporary,  Hugh  of  St.  Victor,  who  remarks  in 
the  Didascalicon  that  of  earthly  things  which  have  a  begin- 
ning and  an  end  "it  has  been  said,  'Nothing  in  the  universe 
ever  dies  because  no  essence  perishes.'  For  the  essences  of 
things  do  not  change,  but  the  forms.  And  when  a  form  is 
said  to  change,  it  should  not  be  so  understood  that  any  exist- 
ing thing  is  believed  to  perish  utterly  and  lose  its  being,  but 

^  Chapter  6,  I,  219. 
'  London  Weekly  Times,   Liter- 
ary Supplement,  Nov.  15,  1918,  p. 


'  Quest,    nat.,   cap,   4,    "Et   meo 
ccriu  ma.ciu  in  Hoc  sensibiii  niun- 

do  nihil  omnino  moritur  nee  minor 
est  hodie  quam  cum  creatus  est. 
Si  qua  pars  ab  una  coniunctione 
solvitur,  non  perit  sed  ad  aliam 
societatem  transit," 




only  to  undergo  alteration,  either  perchance  so  that  those 
things  which  were  joined  are  separated,  or  those  joined 
which  had  been  separated.  .  .  ."  ^  Hugh  was  quite  cer- 
tainly a  younger  man  than  Adelard,  but  it  is  not  so  certain 
that  the  Didascalicon  was  written  after  the  Natural  Ques- 
tions, although  it  is  probable.  Or  Hugh  may  have  heard 
Adelard  lecture  in  Gaul  or  learned  his  view  concerning  the 
indestructibility  of  matter  indirectly.  Or  they  both  may 
have  drawn  it  independently  from  a  common  source." 

In  an  article  entitled  Roger  Bacon  et  I'Horreiir  du-  Vide  ^ 
Professor '  Pierre  Duhem  advanced  the  thesis  that  in 
place  of  the  previous  doctrine  that  nature  abhors  a  vacuum 
Roger  Bacon  was  the  first  to  formulate  a  theory  of  uni- 
versal continuity.  This  was  an  incorrect  hypothesis,  it  is 
true,  but  one  which  Professor  Duhem  believed  to  have  served 
the  useful  purpose  of  supplementing  "the  Peripatetic  theory 
of  heavy  and  light"  until  the  discovery  of  atmospheric  pres- 
sure. This  theory  developed  in  connection  with  certain  prob- 
lematical phenomena  of  which  this  "experiment"  is  the  chief 
and  typical  case.  If  there  be  suspended  in  air  a  vessel  of 
water  having  a  hole  in  the  top  and  several  narrow  apertures 
in  the  bottom,  no  water  will  fall  from  it  as  long  as  the 
superior  aperture  is  closed.  Yet  water  is  heavier  than  air 
and  according  to  the  principles  of  Aristotle's  Physics  should 
fall  to  the  ground.  Writers  before  Roger  Bacon,  according 
to  Duhem,  explain  this  anomaly  by  saying  that  the  fall  of 
the  water  would  produce  a  vacuum  and  that  a  vacuum  can- 
not exist  in  nature.  But  Bacon  argues  that  a  vacuum 
cannot  be  the  reason  why  the  water  does  not  fall,  because 
a  vacuum  does  not  exist;  he  then  explains  further  that  al- 
though by  their  particular  natures  water  tends  downwards 

^Didascalicon  I,  7  (Migne,  PL 

*  Plotinus  had  said,  "Nothing 
that    really    is    can    ever    perish" 


of  uni- 

{ov5iv  dTToXeiTat  rOiv  ovtoiv), 
a:-  Dean  Inge  notes,  The  Philoso- 
phy of  Plotinus,  1918,  I,  189. 
There  is  also  resemblance  be- 
tween  the   Didascalicon    (II,    13) 

and  De  eodem  et  diverso  (p.  27, 
line  7)  in  their  division  of  music 
into  mundane,  human,  and  instru- 
mental. For  this  Boethius  is  very 
likely  the   common   source. 

^  In  Roger  Bacon  Commemora- 
tion Essays,  ed.  by  A.  G.  Little, 
Oxford,   1914,  pp.  241-S4. 



stated  by 

and  air  upwards,  by  their  nature  as  parts  of  the  universe 
they  tend  to  remain  in  continuity.  Duhem  held  that  Roger 
Bacon  was  the  first  to  substitute  this  positive  law  of  uni- 
versal continuity  for  the  mere  negation  that  a  vacuum  can- 
not exist  in  nature.^ 

Professor  Duhem  supported  his  case  by  citation  of  Greek, 
Byzantine,  and  Arabic  sources  and  by  use  of  writings  of 
fourteenth  century  physicists  available  only  in  manuscripts. 
But  unfortunately  for  his  main  contention  he  overlooked 
a  remarkable  passage  written  by  Adelard  of  Bath  over  a 
century  before  Roger  Bacon.  In  the  fifty-eighth  chapter 
of  the  Natural  Questions  the  nephew  says,  "There  is 
still  one  point  about  the  natures  of  waters  which  is  un- 
clear to  me."  He  then  asks  his  uncle  to  explain  a  water 
jar,  similar  to  that  just  described,  which  they  had  once  seen 
at  the  house  of  an  enchantress.  Adelard  replies  in  his  clear, 
easy  style,  so  different  from  the  scholastic  discussion  in 
Bacon's  corresponding  passages.  "If  it  was  magic,  the  en- 
chantment was  worked  by  violence  of  nature  rather  than  of 
waters.  For  although  four  elements  compose  the  body  of 
this  world  of  sense,  they  are  so  united  by  natural  affection 
that,  as  no  one  of  them  desires  to  exist  without  another,  so 
no  place  is  or  can  be  void  of  them.  Therefore  immediately 
one  of  them  leaves  its  position,  another  succeeds  it  without 
interval,  nor  can  one  leave  its  place  unless  some  other  which 
is  especially  attached  to  it  can  succeed  it."  Hence  it  is  futile 
to  give  the  water  a  chance  to  escape  unless  you  give  the  air 
a  chance  to  enter.  Be  it  noted  that  Adelard  not  only  thus 
anticipates  the  theory  of  universal  continuity,  but  also  in 
the  last  clause  of  the  quotation  approaches  the  doctrine  of 
chemical  affinity  in  the  formation  and  disintegration  of 
molecules.  Finally,  he  describes  what  actually  occurs  in  the 
experiment  more  accurately  than  Roger  Bacon  or  the  other 
physicists  cited  by  Duhem.  "Hence  it  comes  about  that,  if 
in  a  vessel  which  is  absolutely  tight  above  an  aperture  is 

*  Roger  Bacon  Essays,  p.  266. 


made  below,  the  liquid  flows  out  only  interruptedly  and  with 
bubbling.  For  as  much  air  gets  in  as  liquid  goes  out,  and 
this  air,  since  it  finds  the  water  porous,  by  its  own  properties 
of  tenuity  and  lightness  makes  its  way  to  the  top  of  the 
vessel  and  occupies  what  seems  to  be  a  vacuum." 

This  detailed  and  accurate  description  of  exactly  what  Expcri- 
takes  place  shows  us  Adelard's  powers  of  observation  and  j^aeic^" 
experiment  at  their  best,  and  compares  favorably  with  two 
cruder  examples  of  experimentation  which  he  ascribes  to 
others.  He  states  that  it  was  discovered  experimentally 
which  portion  of  the  brain  is  devoted  to  the  imagination 
and  which  parts  to  reason  and  memory  through  a  case  in 
which  a  man  was  injured  in  the  front  part  of  the  head.^ 
In  the  other  instance  some  philosophers,  in  order  to  study 
the  veins  and  muscles  of  the  human  body,  bound  a  corpse 
in  running  water  until  all  the  flesh  had  been  removed  by  the 
current.^  But  the  question  remains,  how  often  did  Abelard 
exercise  his  powers  of  accurate  observation  by  actual  ex- 
periments? Certainly  one  thing  is  noteworthy,  that  the 
best  and  almost  sole  experiment  that  he  details  is  repre- 
sented by  him  as  suggested  by  the  magic  water  jar  of  an 
enchantress.  Thus  we  are  once  again  impelled  to  the  con- 
clusion that  experimental  method  owes  a  considerable  debt 
to  magic,  and  that  magic  owed  a  great  deal  to  experimental 

We  are   also   reminded  of  the  association   of   similar   Adelard 
water-jars  with  thaumaturgy  in  the  Pneumatics  of  Hero  of    of  Alex- 
Alexandria.^    It  will  be  noted  that  Adelard  is  content  with  a   ^"d"^- 
single  illustration  of  the  principle  involved,  while  Hero  kept 
reintroducing  instances  of  it.     And  while  Hero  gave  little 
more  than  practical  directions,  Adelard  gives  a  philosophical 
interpretation  of  and  scientific  deduction  from  the  experi- 
ment.   But  he  also  describes  what  actually  occurs  more  ac- 
curately, admitting  that  some  liquid  will  gradually  flow  out 

^  Quest,    not.,   cap.    16.      For    a      VII,  18  (Migne,  PL  34,  364). 
somewhat  similar  passage  in  Au-  '  Ibid.,  cap.  18. 

gustine  see  De  Genesi  ad  littcram,  '  See  above,  chapter  5,  I,  191. 



even  when  the  air-hole  is  kept  closed.  Here  again,  as  in  the 
case  of  the  theory  of  the  penetration  of  the  particles  of  one 
substance  between  those  of  another  mentioned  in  our  para- 
graph above  on  the  theory  of  sound,  it  is  difficult  to  say 
whether  Adelard  was  acquainted  with  Hero's  works.  Prob- 
ably it  is  only  chance  that  Hero's  Pneumatics  seems  to  con- 
tain almost  exactly  the  same  number  of  theorems  as  Ade- 
lard's  Natural  Questions  has  chapters.^ 

It  remains  to  consider  Adelard's  attitude  towards  the 
stars,  which  is  very  similar  to  that  of  Plato's  Tinvaeus. 
We  have  already  seen  that  he  translated  works  of  Arabic 
astrology.  Such  a  work  as  the  tables  of  Al-Khowarizmi 
evidently  has  an  astrological  purpose,  enabling  one  to  find 
the  horoscope  accurately.  In  the  De  eodem  et  diverso  he 
calls  the  celestial  bodies  "those  superior  and  divine  animals," 
and  "the  causes  and  principle  of  inferior  natures."  One  who 
masters  the  science  of  astronomy  can  comprehend  not  only 
the  present  state  of  inferior  things  but  also  the  past  and  the 
future.^  The  existence  of  music,  says  Adelard  in  another 
passage,  supplies  philosophers  with  a  strong  argument  for 
their  belief  that  "the  soul  has  descended  into  the  body  from 
the  stars  above."  ^  In  the  De  eodem  et  diverso  Adelard  also 
expresses  the  belief  that  from  present  phenomena  the  mind 
can  look  ahead  far  into  the  future,  and  that  the  soul  can 
sometimes  foresee  the  future  in  dreams.^ 

In  the  Natural  Questions  ^  Adelard  again  alludes  to  the 
stars  as  "those  superior  animals,"  and  when  asked  whether 
they  are  animated  replies  that  he  deems  anyone  to  be  with- 
out sense  who  contends  that  the  stars  are  senseless,  and  that 
to  call  those  bodies  lifeless  which  produce  vitality  in  other 
bodies  is  ridiculous.  He  regards  "the  bodies  of  the  stars" 
as  composed  of  the  same  four  elements  as  this  world  of  in- 
ferior creation,  but  he  believes  that  in  their  composition 
those  elements  predominate  which  conduce  most  to  life  and 

*That  is,  78  and  77. 

^Dc  eodem  et  diverso,  p.  32. 

*  Ibid.,  p.  10. 

*  Ibid.,  p.  13. 

*  Quest,  nat.,  caps.  74-77. 


reason,  and  that  the  celestial  bodies  are  more  fiery  than  terres- 
trial bodies.  "But  their  fire  is  not  harsh,  but  gentle  and 
harmless.  It  therefore  follows  that  it  is  obedient  to  and  in 
harmony  with  sense  and  reason."  Their  form,  too,  being 
"full  and  round,"  is  especially  adapted  to  reason.  Finally, 
if  reason  and  foresight  exist  even  in  our  dark  and  perturbed 
lower  world,  how  much  more  must  the  stars  employ  intelli- 
gence in  their  determined  and  constant  courses?  When  the 
nephew  proceeds  to  inquire  what  food  the  stars  eat,  since 
they  are  animals,  Adelard  shows  no  surprise,  but  answers 
that  as  diviner  creatures  they  use  a  purer  sustenance  than  we, 
namely,  the  humidities  of  earth  and  water  which,  extenuated 
and  refiined  by  their  long  upward  transit,  neither  augment 
the  stars  in  w^eight  nor  dull  their  reason  and  prudence.  But 
when  the  nephew  asks  whether  the  aplanon  or  outermost  and 
immovable  sphere  of  heaven  should  be  called  God  or  not, 
Adelard  answers  that  to  assert  this  is  in  one  sense  philo- 
sophical but  in  another,  insane  and  abominable,  and  he  then 
avoids  further  discussion  by  terminating  the  treatise,  ■ 

For  some  reason,  which  I  failed  to  discover,  the  cata-    Astrology 
logue  of  the  Cotton  manuscripts  in  the  British  Museum,  in   anony- 
describing  "a  philosophical  treatise  concerning  the  principles    "lo^s 

r       -  1  r  ^  •     -i     ■      n  •       ,  ,      WOrk,  pcr- 

01  nature,  the  power  oi  celestial  niriuences  on  mmds  and  haps  by 
morals,  and  other  matters,"  ^  states  that  "the  author  seems  lardus. 
to  be  Athelardus."  The  treatise  is  perhaps  of  later  date 
than  Adelard  of  Bath,  but  as  it  would  be  equally  difficult 
to  connect  it  with  any  other  of  our  authors,  we  will  give 
some  account  of  it  now.  It  seems  to  be  incomplete  as  it 
stands  both  at  the  beginning  and  end,  but  the  main  interest 
in  the  portion  preserved  to  us  is  astrological.  Authorities 
are  cited  such  as  Hermes  Trismegistus,  Theodosius, 
Ptolemy,  Apollonius  of  Thebes,  "Albateni,"  and  "Abu- 
maxar."  Discussing  the  number  of  elements  our  author 
states  that  medical  men  speak  of  the  four  parts  of  the  in- 

*  Cotton  Titus  D,  iv,  fols.  75-  closing  "pars  tercia  tocius  orbis 
138V,  opening  "fiat  ordinata  parato  terreni.  unde  reliqua  duo  spacia 
quo  facile  amplectamur  .  .  .",  and       reliqua." 



ferior  world,  fire,  air,  water,  earth, ^  but  that  astrologers 
make  the  number  of  the  elements  twelve,  adding  the  eight 
parts  of  the  superior  world.-  Later  our  author  argues 
further  for  astrological  influence  as  against  "the  narrow 
medical  man  who  thinks  of  no  effects  of  things  except  those 
of  inferior  nature  merely."  ^  Our  author  holds  that  forms 
come  from  above  tc  matter  here  below,  and  discusses  the 
influence  of  the  sky  on  the  generation  of  humans  and  metals, 
plants  and  animals,  and  connects  seven  colors  and  seven 
metals  with  the  planets.^  He  furthermore,  in  all  probability 
following  Albumasar  in  this,  asserts  that  the  course  of  his- 
tory may  be  foretold  by  means  of  astrology  and  that  dif- 
ferent religions  go  with  different  planets.^  The  Jews  are 
under  Saturn;  the  Arabs,  under  Venus  and  Mars,  which 
explains  the  warlike  and  sensual  character  of  their  religion; 
the  Christian  Roman  Empire,  under  the  Sun  and  Jupiter. 
"Ancient  writers  argue"  and  "present  experience  proves"  ® 
that  the  Sun  stands  for  honesty,  liberality,  and  victory; 
Jupiter,  for  peace,  equity,  and  humanity.  The  constant 
enmity  between  the  Jews  and  Christians,  and  Moslems  and 
Christians,  is  explained  by  the  fact  that  neither  Mars  nor 
Saturn  is  ever  in  friendly  relation  with  Jupiter.  These  three 
religions  also  observe  the  days  of  the  week  corresponding 
to  their  planets:  the  Christians,  Sunday;  the  Moslems,  Fri- 
day or  Venus's  day;  the  Jews,  Saturday.  Our  author  also 
explains  the  worships  of  the  Egyptians  and  Greeks  by  their 
relation  to  signs  of  the  zodiac. 

Despite  the  allusion  just  mentioned  to  "the  experience  of 
to-day,"  our  author  perhaps  shows  too  great  a  tendency  to 
cite  authorities  to  be  that  Adelard  of  Bath  who  wished  to 
give  and  take  reason  and  reproved  his  nephew  for  blind 
trust  in  authority.  In  discussing  the  theme  of  spirits  and 
demons  "^ — a   different   problem,    it    is   true,    from    natural 

*  Cotton  Titus  D,  iv,  fol.  77r. 
*Ibid.,  fol.  78r. 

nbid.,  fol.  i26v. 

*  Ibid.,  fols,  127-32. 
^  Ibid.,  fols.  1 13-4. 

*  f ol.  113V,  "Et  antiqui  scrip- 
ture arguunt  et  hodierni  temporis 
experimentum   probat"  .  .  . 

''Ibid.,  fols.  120V-124V. 

xxxvi  ADELARD  OF  BATH  43 

questions — he  thinks  that  "it  is  enough  in  these  matters  to 
have  faith  in  the  authority  of  those  who,  divinely  illumi- 
nated, could  penetrate  into  things  divine  by  the  purer  vision 
of  the  mind."  He  proceeds  to  cite  Apuleius  and  Trisme- 
gistus,  Hermes  in  The  Golden  Bought  "Apollonius"  in  The 
Secrets  of  Nature,  which  he  wrote  alone  in  the  desert,  and 
Aristotle  who  tells  of  a  spirit  of  Venus  who  came  to  him  in 
a  dream  and  instructed  him  as  to  the  sacrifice  which  he 
should  perform  under  a  certain  constellation. 

But  I  would  close  this  chapter  on  Adelard  not  with  super-  Adelard's 
stition  from  a  treatise  of  dubious  authenticity,  but  rather  influence 
with  reaffirmation  of  the  importance  in  the  long  history  ot 
science  of  his  brief  work,  the  Natural  Questions.  Its  prob- 
able effects  upon  Hugh  of  St.  Victor  and  Roger  Bacon  are 
instances  of  its  medieval  influence  to  which  we  shall  add  in 
subsequent  chapters.  But  most  impressive  is  the  fact  that 
within  such  compact  compass  it  considers  so  many  problems 
and  topics  that  are  still  of  interest  to  modern  science.  For 
instance,  its  two  concrete  examples  of  the  stone  dropped 
into  a  hole  extending  through  the  earth's  center  and  of  the 
magic  water  jar  have  been  common  property  ever  since. 





of  the 

queen  did 
play  the 

It  is  a  difficult  matter  to  fix  the  date  either  of  the  De 
eodem  ct  divcrso  or  of  the  Questiones  Naturales,  and  to 
account  satisfactorily  for  the  various  allusions  to  contem- 
porary events  and  to  Adelard's  own  movements  which  occur 
in  either.  It  is  not  even  entirely  certain  which  treatise  was 
written  first,  as  neither  contains  an  unmistakable  allusion  to 
the  other.  On  general  grounds  the  De  eodcm  et  diverso 
would  certainly  seem  the  earlier  work,  but  there  are  some 
reasons  for  thinking  the  contrary.  It  seems  clear  that  not 
many  years  elapsed  between  the  composition  of  the  two 
works,  but  how  many  is  uncertain.  It  is  evident  that  the 
De  eodem  et  diverso  must  have  been  written  by  1116  at  the 
latest  in  order  to  dedicate  it  to  William,  bishop  of  Syracuse. 
But  the  Questiones  imturales  apparently  might  have  been 
dedicated  to  Richard,  bishop  of  Bayeux,  at  almost  any  time 
during  his  pontificate  from  1107  to  1133,  although  probably 
not  long  after  1116. 

Professor  Haskins  would  narrow  down  the  time  during 
which  the  De  eodem  et  diverso  could  have  been  written  to 
the  years  from  about  1104  to  1109,  with  the  single  year 
1116  as  a  further  possibility.  He  says,  "Adelard  speaks  of 
having  played  the  citliara  before  the  queen  in  the  course  of 
his  musical  studies  in  France  the  preceding  year,  and  as 
there  was  no  queen  of  France  between  the  death  of  Philip  I 
and  the  marriage  of  Louis  VI  in  1115,  the  treatise,  unless 
the  bishop  of  Syracuse  was  still  alive  in  in 6,  would  not 





be  later  than  1109."  ^  But  may  not  the  queen  referred  to 
have  been  Matilda,  the  wife  of  Henry  I?^  She  was  a 
patroness  both  of  artists  and  of  men  of  letters,  and  the  Pipe 
Roll  for  1 1 30  and  the  treatise  on  the  astrolabe  have  shown 
us  that  later,  at  least,  it  was  the  English  royal  family  with 
which  Adelard,  himself  an  Englishman,  was  connected.  It 
is  of  "Gaul,"  not  of  "France"  in  the  sense  of  territory  sub- 
ject to  the  French  monarch,  that  Adelard  writes,^  and 
Normandy  was  of  course  under  Henry's  rule  after  the 
battle  of  Tinchebrai  in  1 106. 

The  De  eodem  et  diverso  takes  the  form  of  a  letter  ^ 
from  Adelard  to  his  nephew,  justifying  his  "laborious 
itinerary"  in  pursuit  of  learning  against  the  reproach  of 
"levity  and  inconstancy"  made  by  the  nephew,  and  stating 
"the  cause  of  my  travel  among  the  learned  men  of  various 
regions,"  at  which  the  nephew  has  time  and  again  expressed 
his  astonishment,  and  the  reasons  for  which  his  uncle  has 
kept  concealed  from  him  for  two  years. ^  This  letter  seems 
to  have  been  written  by  Adelard  in  Sicily,  since  it  is  prefaced 

^Haskins    (1911)    pp.   492-3. 

^It  is  true  that  after  1109,  "The 
queen  herself,  who  had  for  a  time 
accompanied  the  movements  of 
her  husband,  now  resided  mostly 
at  Westminster"  (G.  B.  Adams 
in  Hunt  and  Poole,  Political  His- 
tory of  England,  II,  151),  so  that 
Adelard  would  not  have  had  many 
opportunities  to  play  before  her  in 
the  English  possessions  across  the 
channel   after    that   date. 

^  De  eodem  et  diverso,  pp.  25-6, 
Philosophy  addresses  Adelard, 
".  .  .  cum  praeterito  anno  in 
eadem  musica  Gallicis  studiis  totus 
sudares  adessetque  in  serotino 
tempore  magister  artis  una  cum 
discipulis  cum  eorum  reginaeque 
rogatu  citharam  tangeres." 

*  P.  3,  line  16,  "Quoniam  autem 
in  epistola  hac  .  .  .";  line  25, 
"Hanc  autem  epistolam  'De  eodem 
et  diverso'  intitulavi" ;  p.  34,  line 
7,  "Vale ;  et  utrum  recte  dis- 
putaverim,  tecum  dijudica." 

'  P.  3,  line  9,  "Nam  et  ego,  cum 
idem     metuens     iniustae     cuidam 

nepotis  mei  accusationi  rescribere 
vererer,  in  hanc  demum  senten- 
tiam  animum  compuli,  ut  repre- 
hensionis  metum  patienter  ferrem, 
accusationi  iniustae  pro  posse  meo 

P.  4,  line  6,  "Saepenumero  ad- 
mirari  soles,  nepos,  laboriosi  iti- 
neris  mei  causam  et  aliquando 
acrius  sub  nomine  levitatis  et  in- 
constantiae  propositum  accusare 
.  .  .";  line  17,  "Et  ego,  si  tibi  idem 
videtur,  causam  erroris  mei — ita 
enim  vocare  soles — paucis  edis- 
seram  et  multiplicem  labyrinthum 
ad  unum  honesti  exitum  vo- 
cabo  .  .  ." ;  line  22,  "Ego  rem, 
quam  per  biennium  celavi,  ut  tibi 
morem  geram  aperiam.  .  .  ." 

P.  34,  line  3,  "Hactenus,  caris- 
sime  nepos,  tibi  causam  itineris 
mei  per  diversarum  regionum 
doctores  flexi  satagens  explicavi, 
ut  et  me  injustae  accusationis  tuae 
onere  alleviarem  et  tibi  eorun- 
dem  studioruni  affectum  appli- 
carem.  .  .  ." 

which  the 
De  eodem 
et  diverso 




in  the 

with  a  dedication  to  William,  bishop  of  Syracuse,  and  since 
towards  its  close  Adelard  speaks  of  "coming  from  Salerno 
into  Graecia  maior"  ^ — a  phrase  by  which  he  presumably 
refers  to  the  ancient  Magna  Graecia,  or  southern  Italy,  and 
perhaps  also  Sicily.  In  the  preceding  year,  however,  Ade- 
lard and  his  nephew  had  been  together  in  Tours."  It  thus 
appears  that  the  De  codem  was  written  not  very  long  after 
Adelard  set  out  on  his  quest  for  foreign  learning,  while  he 
was  still  in  the  Greek  or  semi-Greek  learned  society  of 
southern  Italy  and  Sicily,  and  presumably  before  he  had 
come  into  contact  with  the  science  of  the  Saracens,  which 
he  does  not  mention  in  the  De  eodem  et  diverso,  although 
traces  of  it  undoubtedly  lingered  in  Sicily.  He  writes  as 
if  the  idea  had  only  comparatively  recently  come  to  him 
"that  he  could  much  broaden  his  education,  if  he  crossed 
the  Alps  and  visited  other  teachers  than  those  of  Gaul." 

In  the  Natural  Questions,  on  the  other  hand,  he  returns 
to  England  after  seven  years,  instead  of  a  single  year,  of 
separation  from  his  nephew,  after  a  visit  to  the  principality 
of  Antioch,^  and  after  a  considerable  period  of  study  among 
the  Saracens  or  Arabs.  It  is  rather  natural,  however,  to 
conclude  that  the  same  absence  abroad  is  referred  to  in 
both  treatises,  and  that  Adelard  wrote  Dc  eodem  et  diverso 
to  his  nephew  after  he  had  been  absent  a  year,  while  the 
Natural  Questions  was  composed  after  his  return  at  the 
end  of  seven  years.  Thus  six  years  would  separate  the  two 
treatises.  But  the  Natural  Questions  depicts  a  different  last 
parting  of  uncle  and  nephew  from  that  of  De  eodem  et  di- 
verso.    It  does  not  allude  to  their  having  been  together  in 

*  P.  33,  line  13,  "...  a  Salerno 
veniens  in  Graecia  maiore  .  .  ." ; 
also  p.  32,  line  27,  "Quod  enim 
Gallica  studia  nesciunt,  transal- 
pina  reserabunt ;  quod  apud  Lati- 
nos non  addisces,  Graecia  facunda 

'  P.  4,  line  25,  "Erat  praeterito 
in  anno  vir  quidam  apud  Turoni- 
um  .  .  .  et  te  eius  probitas  non 
lateat,  qui  una  ibi  mecum  adesses." 

^  Quest,  ttat..  cap.  51,  "Cum  seme) 
in  partibus  Antiochenis  pontem 
civitatis  Manistre  transires,  ipsam 
pontem  simul  etiam  totam  ipsam 
regionem  terre  motu  contre- 
muisse."  It  is  true  that  this  re- 
mark is  put  into  the  nephew's 
mouth,  but  it  is  probably  meant 
to  refer  to  an  incident  of  Ade- 
lard's  recent  trip  abroad  and  not 
to  some  previous  one. 




Tours  seven  years  ago,  but  reminds  the  nephew  how,  when 
his  uncle  took  leave  of  him  and  his  other  pupils  at  Laon 
seven  years  since,  it  was  agreed  between  them  that  while 
Adelard  investigated  Arabian  learning,  his  nephew  should 
continue  his  studies  in  Gaul.^  In  the  De  eodem  et  diverso, 
on  the  contrary,  neither  Laon  nor  the  Arabs  nor  any  such 
agreement  between  uncle  and  nephew  is  mentioned.  Rather, 
the  uncle  seems  to  have  at  first  kept  secret  the  motives  for 
his  crossing  the  Alps.  It  therefore  may  be  that  Adelard 
had  returned  from  Sicily  to  Gaul  and  had  taught  at  Laon 
for  a  short  time  before  setting  out  on  a  longer  period  of 
travel  in  quest  of  Arabian  science.  This  would  agree  well 
enough  with  his  allusion  to  his  nephew  in  the  De  eodem  et 
diverso  as  "still  a  boy,"  ^  and  the  statement  in  the  Natural 
Questions  that  his  nephew  was  "little  more  than  a  boy"  ^ 
when  he  parted  from  him  seven  years  before.  In  this  case 
the  Natural  Questions  would  have  been  written  more  than 
seven  years  after  the  De  eodem  et  diverso.  This  is,  I  think, 
the  most  tenable  and  plausible  hypothesis. 

There  are,  it  is  true,  one  or  two  circumstances  which 
might  be  taken  to  indicate  that  the  De  eodem  et  diverso  was 
written  after  the  Questiones  naturales.     In  the  sole  manu- 
script  of  the  De  eodem  thus  far  known  "*  it   follows  that   et  diverso 
treatise,  and  its  title  Of  the  same  and  different  might  be    te^yf7'^' 
taken  as  a  continuation  with  variations  of  the  general  line  ^^t  Natural 
of  thought  of  the  other  treatise.     But  it  is  perhaps  just  be- 
cause some  copyist  has  so  interpreted  its  title  that  it  is  put 

Some  ap- 
parent in- 
that  the 

*  Quest,  nat.,  procm'mm.  "Memi- 
nisti,  nepos,  septennio  iam  trans- 
acto,  cum  te  in  gallicis  studiis 
pene  puerum  iuxta  hiudisdunum 
una  cum  ceteris  auditoribus  meis 
dimiserim,  id  inter  nos  con- 
venisse  ut  arabum  studia  pro 
posse  meo  scrutarer,  te  vero 
gallicarum  sententiarum  in  con- 
stantiam  non  minus  acquireres? 

(Nepos)  Memini  eo  quoque 
magis  quod  tu  discedens  philoso- 
phic attentum  futurum  me  fidei 
promissione  astringeres." 

^  De  eodem,  p.  4,  line  10,  "cum 

tn  pueritia  adhuc  detinearis."  In 
this  treatise,  too,  Adelard  him- 
self is  regularly  spoken  of  as 
iuvenis,  which  is,  however,  an  ex- 
ceedingly vague  word. 

^  "pene  puerum" 

*  Latin  MS  2389,  a  twelfth  cen- 
tury parchment,  of  the  Bib- 
liotheque  Nationale,  Paris.  The 
Questiones  naturales  end  at  fol. 
82V,  whence  the  De  eodem  et 
diverso  continues  to  fol.  91V.  The 
manuscript  is  described  by  Will- 
ner  at  p.  27  of  his  edition  of  the 
De  eodem  et  diverso. 



after  the  Natural  Questions  in  this  manuscript.  At  any  rate 
in  the  text  itself  Adelard  gives  another  explanation  of  its 
title,  stating  that  it  has  reference  to  the  allegorical  figures, 
Philosophia  and  Philocosmia,  who  address  him  in  his  vision, 
and  who,  he  says,  are  designated  as  eadem  and  diversa  "by 
the  prince  of  philosophers," — an  allusion  perhaps  to  some 
of  Aristotle's  pronouns.^  Another  curious  circumstance 
is  that  the  problem.  How  far  would  a  stone  of  great  weight 
fall,  if  dropped  in  a  hole  extending  through  the  earth  at  the 
center?  occurs  in  both  the  De  eodem  and  Natural  Ques- 
tions.^ In  the  latter  the  nephew  puts  the  query  to  his  uncle : 
in  the  former  a  Grecian  philosopher  whom  Adelard  has  been 
questioning  concerning  the  properties  of  the  magnet  in  at- 
tracting iron,  in  his  turn  asks  Adelard  this  question.  Now 
in  the  Natural  Questions  Adelard's  answer  is  given,  as  if 
the  nephew  had  never  heard  it  before,  but  in  the  De  eodem 
et  diverso  it  is  simply  stated  that  the  Greek  "listened  to  my 
explanation  of  this,"  as  if  the  nephew  had  already  heard 
the  explanation  from  his  uncle. ^ 

In  opening  the  Natural  Questions  Adelard  states  that 
Henry  I  was  reigning  when  he  returned  to  England  recently. 
This  statement,  in  Professor  Haskins'  opinion,  "would  seem 
to  imply  that  he  originally  left  England  for  his  studies  in 
France  before  Plenry's  accession."  I  am  not  quite  sure  that 
this  inference  follows,  but  if  it  does,  may  one  not  go  a  step 
further  and  argue  that  Henry  I  had  come  to  the  throne  since 
Adelard  parted  from  his  nephew  at  Laon  to  investigate  the 
learning  of  the  Arabs?  Had  Henry  become  king  of  Eng- 
land while  Adelard  was  still  studying  or  teaching  in  north- 

'  P.  3,  line  25flF.  "Hanc  autem 
epistolam  'De  eodem  et  diverso' 
intitulavi,  quoniam  videlicet  maxi- 
niam  orationis  partem  duabus  per- 
sonis,  philosophiae  scilicet  atgue 
philocosmiae  attribui,  una  quarum 
eadem,  alter  vero  diversa  a  prin- 
cipe  philosophorum  appellatur." 
Adelard  fails  to  explain  why  the 
title  is  not  Dc  cadcm  ct  diversa, 
as  his  explanation  might  seem  to 


'Quest,  nal.,  cap.  49;  De  eodem 
et  diverso.  p.  33. 

'  In  both  treatises  Adelard  re- 
gards the  stars  as  divine  animals, 
as  we  have  seen,  and  refers  to 
the  same  partition  of  the  head 
amor^cr  the  mental  faculties  in 
both  {Quest,  nat..  cap.  18;  De 
eodem.  p.  2,2')  but  there  is  nothing 
to  indicate  which  passage  is  prior. 


ern  Gaul,  he  would  almost  certainly  have  heard  of  it,  and 
it  would  have  been  no  news  to  him  on  his  return  from  his 
studies  among  the  Arabs.  If  we  accept  this  view,  Adelard's 
return  to  England  would  be  not  later  than  1 107.  But  it 
could  scarcely  be  earlier,  if  he  wrote  and  dedicated  the 
Natural  Questions  promptly  after  his  arrival,  of  which  he 
speaks  as  a  recent  event  in  that  work,  since  the  dedicatee 
did  not  become  Bishop  of  Bayeux  until  1107.  And  if  the 
Dc  eodem  et  diverso  was  written  more  than  seven  years 
before  the  Natural  Questions,  we  should  have  to  date  it  back 
into  the  eleventh  century,  which  would  perhaps  be  too  early 
for  its  dedication  to  William,  bishop  of  Syracuse.  And  to 
put  these  two  works  so  early  is  to  leave  a  gap  between  them 
and  the  other  known  dates  of  Adelard's  career,  1126,  1130, 
and  1142-1146,  and  make  the  period  of  his  literary  pro- 
ductivity quite  a  long  one.  He  would  have  been  quite  a 
graybeard  when  he  wrote  on  the  astrolabe  for  the  juvenile 
Henry  Plantagenet.  On  the  whole,  therefore,  I  am  in- 
clined to  think  that  Henry  I  had  been  reigning  for  some 
time  when  Adelard  wrote  the  Natural  Questions. 



His  relation  to  his  time — Early  life — Writings — Philosophia:  gen- 
eral character — Contemporary  education — Good  and  bad  demons — 
Astronomy  and  astrology — Extent  of  the  influence  of  the  stars — Science 
and  religion — Letter  of  William  of  St.  Thierry  to  St.  Bernard — Extent 
of  William's  retraction  in  the  Dragmaticon — Reassertion  of  previous 
views — No  denial  of  science — William's  future  influence — Appendix  I. 
Editions  and  Manuscripts  of  the  Original  and  of  the  Revised  Version 
of  the  Work  of  William  of  Conches  on  Natural  Philosophy. 

".  .  .  rejoicing  not  in  the  many  hut  in  the  probity  of  the 
few,  we  toil  for  truth  alone." 

— Philosophia  (1531)  p.  28. 

Hisrela-  PRACTICALLY  contemporary  with  Adelard  of  Bath  and  as- 
hi°"time  sociated  Hke  him  with  members  of  the  EngHsh  royal  Hne 
was  WilHam  of  Conches,^  of  whom  we  shall  treat  in  the 
present  chapter.  Like  Adelard  also  he  withdrew  from  the 
schools  of  Gaul  after  teaching  there  for  a  time — longer  ap- 
parently than  Adelard;  like  Adelard  he  followed  the  guid- 
ance of  reason  and  took  an  interest  in  natural  science;  like 
him  he  employed  the  dramatic  dialogue  form  in  his  works. 
John  of  Salisbury,  who  studied  grammar  under  William 
of  Conches  and  Richard  Bishop  {I'Evcqiic)  from  about 
1138  to  1 141,"  represents  those  masters  as  successors  to  the 

*  On    William    of    Conches    see,  12,  293-310)  and  "The  Masters  of 

besides  HL  XXI,  455  ct  scq.  and  the    Schools   at    Paris   and    Char- 

DNB,  Antoine  Charma,  Gnillaumc  tres  in  John  of  Salisbury's  Time," 

de  Conches,  Paris,  1857;  B.  Hau-  EHR,  35   (1920)   pp.  321-42.     For 

reau,    in    his    Sincjularites    histo-  editions  and  MSS  of  the  original 

riques   ct    litteraircs,    Paris,    1861  ;  version  and  revision  of  William's 

H.  F.  Reuter,  Gcschichtc  dcr  re-  chief     philosophical    treatise     see 

ligiosen    Aufkliirung    im     Mittel-  Appendix    I    at   the    close   of   this 

alter,  II    (1877)    pp.   6-10;    R.   L.  chapter.     For  his  other  works  see 

Poole,  Illustrations  of  the  History  my  subsequent  foot-notes. 

of    Medieval    Thought,    1884,    pp.  ^ Metalogicus  II.  10. 
124-31,  338-63,   (or,  1920,  pp.  106- 



thorough-going  educational  methods  and  humanistic  ideals 
of  Bernard  of  Chartres;  but  adds  that  later,  when  men 
"preferred  to  seem  rather  than  be  philosophers,  and  pro- 
fessors of  the  arts  promised  to  transmit  all  philosophy  to 
their  hearers  in  less  than  three  or  two  years'  time,  overcome 
by  the  onslaught  of  the  unskilled  multitude,  they  ceased 
teaching."  ^  William  then  seems  to  have  entered  the  service 
of  Geoffrey  Plantagenet,  to  whom  as  duke  of  Normandy  as 
well  as  count  of  Anjou  we  find  William  addressing  his 
Dragmaticon  or  Dramaticus,  which  takes  the  form  of  a  dia- 
logue between  them.  It  thus  was  written  at  some  time  be- 
tween 1 1 44  and  1 150,  the  period  when  Geoffrey  was  duke 
of  Normandy."  His  son,  the  future  Henry  H  of  England, 
was  in  Normandy  from  1146  to  1149,  when  William  ap- 
pears to  have  been  his  tutor.^  In  the  Dragmaticon  William 
praises  Geoffrey  for  training  his  children  "from  a  tender 
age"  in  the  study  of  literature/  and  before  the  boy  was 
made  duke  of  Normandy  by  his  father  in  11 50  at  the  age 
of  seventeen  William  prepared  for  his  perusal  a  collection 
of  moral  extracts  from  such  classical  Latin  authors  as 
Cicero,  Seneca,  Juvenal,  Horace,  Lucan,  and  Persius,  en- 
titled De  honesto  et  utili.^  The  last  we  hear  of  William 
seems  to  be  in  11 54,  under  which  date  Alberic  des  Trois 

^  Metalogicus,  1,  24.         _      _  literarum   tenera   aetate   imbuisti" 

*  Haskins,  Norman  Institutions,  maj^  be  retrospective,  and  as  one 
1918,  p.  130.  Haskins,  Ibid.,  p.  can  scarcely  argue  with  any  chron- 
205,  has  found  no  authority  for  ological  exactness  from  these 
Geoffrey's  absence  on  crusade  in  medieval  phrases  denoting  time 
1147,  so  that  it  need  not  be  taken  of  life — Henry,  for  example,  is 
into  account  in  dating  the  Drag-  addressed  as  "vir  optime  atgue 
maticon.  liberalis"    in    the    preface    of    the 

*R.   L.   Poole,  in   EHR    (1920)  collection  of  ethical  maxims  which 

p.  334.  William  made  for  him  before  he 

*  R.  L.  Poole  (1884),  p.  348,  was  seventeen, —  it  seems  to  me 
(1920)  p.  299,  concluded  from  this,  that  there  is  no  sufficient  reason 
"The  dialogue  was  written  there-  for  fixing  on  1145  as  the  date  of 
fore    some    time,    probably    some  the  Dragmaticon. 

years,  before  Henry  was  of  an  age  °  Printed  in  Migne,  PL  171,  1007- 

to  be  knighted,  in    1149;  and  we  56,  among  the  works  of  Hildebert 

shall  certainly  not  be  far  wrong  if  of    Le   Mans.      William's   author- 

we  place  it  about  the  year  1145."  ship  was  determined  by  Haureau, 

As,  however,  Henry  was  knighted  Notices   et   Extraits,    XXXIH,    i, 

when  only  about  sixteen,  and  as  257-63. 
the     remark     "quos   .   .   .    studio 


Fontaines,^  a  thirteenth  century  chronicler,  states  that  he 
had  attained  a  great  reputation.  He  might  well  have  lived 
on  for  some  time  after  that  date,  since  his  former  associate, 
Richard  Bishop,  was  archdeacon  of  Coutances  at  the  time 
John  of  Salisbury  wrote  the  Metalogicus  in  1159,  and  sur- 
vived to  become  bishop  of  Avranches  in  1171,  dying  only 
in  1 182.  One  infers,  however,  from  John's  account  that 
WilHam  was  no  longer  living  in  11 59. 

Early  life.  We  may   next  look   back   upon  the   earlier   events   of 

William's  life.  In  the  Dragmaticon  he  speaks  of  having 
been  previously  engaged  in  teaching  "for  twenty  years  and 
more  than  that."  Still  earlier  he  had  been  a  student,  pre- 
sumably under  Bernard  of  Chartres,  in  which  town  it  is 
possible  that  much  of  his  own  teaching  was  done.  John 
of  Salisbury,  however,  simply  says  of  his  studies  with 
William,  "Straightway  I  betook  me  to  the  grammarian  of 
Conches,"  while  in  another  passage  he  mentions  "my 
teachers  in  grammar,  William  of  Conches  and  Richard,  sur- 
named  Bishop,  now  an  archdeacon  at  Coutances."  Al- 
though this  passage  might  seem  to  suggest  that  William 
taught  at  Conches,  no  one  so  far  as  I  know  has  ever  enter- 
tained that  supposition,  and  the  chief  dispute  has  been 
whether  he  taught  at  Chartres  or  at  Paris. ^  But  that  he 
was  born  at  Conches  no  one  doubts,  and  he  himself  once 
speaks  somewhat  satirically  of  his  Norman  dulness  com- 
pared to  the  lightning  intelligences  of  some  of  his  con- 

Writings.  The  Dragmaticon  was  a  revision  of  a  work  on  phi- 

losophy or  natural  philosophy  composed  in  William's 
"younger  days."  ^  He  also  appears  to  have  commented 
upon  Boethius'   Consolation  of  Philosophy,^  and  to  have 

*  Bouquet,  Recueil,  XIII,  703D.  example  of  a  vague  chronological 

*R.   L.   Poole,  in   EHR    (1920)  phrase. 
p.     334,     decides     in     favor      of  °  Charles    Jourdain,    Des    Com- 

Chartres.  mentaircs  incdits  dc  Guillaume  de 

'  Cited    from    the    Dragmaticon  Conches  ct  dc  Nicolas  Triveth  sur 

by  Poole  (1884)  pp.  348-9,  (1920)  la   Consolation  de  la  Philosophie, 

300.  Paris,  1861. 

*/»    iuventute    nostra,    another 


written  a  gloss  on  the  Timaeus  ^  in  which  among  other 
things  he  dilates  upon  the  perfection  of  certain  numbers. 
But  our  discussion  will  be  almost  exclusively  concerned  with 
his  much  more  influential  Philosophia  and  its  revised  ver- 
sion, Dragmaticon.  We  shall  first  examine  the  original 

The  original  treatise  touches  on  the  fields  of  philosophy  Philo- 
and  astronomy  in  a  simple  and  elementary  way,  but  with  general 
considerable  skill,  if  not  originality,  in  the  selection  and  character, 
presentation  of  its  subject-matter.  William  does  not  seem 
acquainted  with  Arabic  science  except  that  he  has  read 
Constantinus  Africanus  and  from  him  derived  the  same 
doctrine  that  the  four  elements  are  never  found  in  a  pure 
state  which  we  met  in  Adelard  of  Bath.  William  gives  us 
a  Platonic  interpretation  of  nature,  in  which  nevertheless 
he  does  not  adhere  at  all  closely  to  the  Timaeus,  interspersed 
with  not  infrequent  quotation  from  or  reference  to  as- 
tronomical works,  classical  literature,  and  the  Bible  and 
church  fathers.  Indeed,  he  is  always  careful  to  allow  for 
divine  influence  in  nature  and  for  the  statements  of  Scrip- 
ture, and  to  show  that  his  theories  do  not  contradict  either. 
In  such  passages  his  language  is  always  reverent,  and  he 
not  infrequently  alludes  respectfully  to  what  the  saints  have 
to  say  (sancti  diciint)  on  the  theme  in  hand.  The  body 
of  the  treatise  opens  with  definition  of  philosophy  and  state- 
ment of  its  method  of  inquiry,  after  which  the  author  argues 
that  the  world  was  made  by  God  and  discusses  the  Trinity 
at  some  length.  He  then  discusses  the  topics  of  world-soul, 
demons,  and  elements;  next  passes  to  various  matters  as- 
tronomical and  astrological  concerning  the  sky  and  stars; 
and  finally  treats  of  our  lower  world  and  of  man. 

The  work  also  contains,  especially  in  the  prefaces  to   Contem- 
its  different  books  but  also  in  other  passages,  a  number  of   gj'^^^f- 
interesting  allusions  to  contemporary  learning  and  educa- 

^  Printed    in    part    as    by    Hon-  '  My   references   will   be  to   the 

orius   of    Autun   in   Cousin,   Ouv-  editio    princeps    of     Basel,     1531, 

rages    incdits    d'Abelard,    Appen-  which  is,  however,  not  particularly 

dix,  p.  648,  et  seq.  accurate. 


tion.  William  frequently  refers  to  the  existence  of  other 
scholars  and  furthermore  makes  it  evident  that  this  learned 
society  is  not  in  its  earliest  stage.  Its  paradise  period  is 
over;  the  evil  has  entered  in  among  the  good;  the  enemy 
has  sown  tares  amid  the  wheat.  Education  has  become  too 
popular,  and  already  the  insincere  and  the  incapable,  the 
charlatan  and  the  unthinking  m^ob,  are  cheapening  and  de- 
grading the  ideals  of  the  true  philosopher.  William  speaks 
of  "many  who  usurp  the  name  of  teacher,"  ^  and  of  "cer- 
tain men  who  have  never  read  the  works  either  of  Con- 
stantinus  or  of  any  other  philosopher,  who  out  of  pride 
disdain  to  learn  from  anyone,  who  from  arrogance  invent 
what  they  do  not  know,"  ^  and  who  actually  insist  that  the 
four  qualities,  hot,  cold,  moist,  and  dry,  are  elements.  In 
another  passage  William  says,  "Although  we  are  aware 
that  many  strive  for  an  ornate  style,  few  for  accuracy  of 
statement,  yet  rejoicing  not  in  the  many  but  in  the  probity 
of  the  few,  we  toil  for  truth  alone."  ^  These  are  not  all  of 
William's  complaints.  Back  in  the  world  of  feudalism, 
crusades,  and  Holy  Roman  Empire  which  seems  to  many  so 
foreign,  distant,  and  incomprehensible,  he  voices  grievances 
which  are  still  those  of  the  college  or  university  professor 
of  to-day.  The  teacher  is  so  occupied  with  classes  that  he 
has  little  time  for  research  and  publication ;  *  the  vulgar 
crowd  has  stolen  philosophy's  clothing  and  left  the  essential 
body  of  truth  naked  and  vainly  crying  for  covering, — a 
figure  borrowed  from  TJie  Consolation  of  Philosophy  of 
Boethius  without  express  acknowledgment,^'  but  perhaps  the 
allusion  was  so  familiar  as  not  to  require  one;  the  truly 
learned  are  in  danger  of  the  bite  of  envy;  most  teachers  are 
catering  to  their  pupils  and  giving  "snap  courses"  in  order 
to  gain  popularity;  the  elective  system  is  a  failure,  since 
the  students,  in  the  words  of  the  Apostle,  "after  their  own 

'Edition  of  1531,  p.  i.  consolationc  philosophiac,  I,  i,  21- 

'  [bid.,  p.  14.  3  and  I,  iii,  19-28.     It  will  be  re- 

^Ibid..  pp.  27-8.  called  that  William  wrote  a  com- 

*  Ibid.,  p.  51.  mentary  on  Boethius'  work. 

*  The  parallel  passages  are:  De 


lusts  heap  to  themselves  teachers  having  itching  ears"; 
academic  freedom  has  become  a  thing  of  the  past  now  that 
masters  are  become  flatterers  of  their  students  and  students 
judges  of  their  masters,  while  "if  there  is  anyone  who  does 
maintain  a  magisterial  air,  he  is  shunned  as  if  insane  by 
the  meretricious  scholars  and  is  called  cruel  and  inhuman."  ^ 
All  which  agrees  perfectly  with  John  of  Salisbury's  state- 
ment why  William  had  ceased  teaching. 

William  does  not  mention  magic  in  his  treatise,  but  the  Good 
fact  that  he  does  not  condemn  all  demons  indifferently  is  demons, 
perhaps  worth  noting  as  a  departure  from  the  usual  patristic 
view  and  as  offering  opportunity  for  an  innocent  variety  of 
necromancy.  William,  who  attributes  his  classification  to 
Plato,  distinguishes  three  sorts  of  demons.  The  first  class, 
existent  in  the  ether  betwixt  firmament  and  moon,  are  ra- 
tional, immortal,  ethereal  animals,  invisible  and  impassive, 
whose  function  is  blissful  contemplation  of  the  divine  sun. 
The  second  class,  who  dwell  in  the  upper  atmosphere  near 
the  moon,  are  rational,  immortal,  aerial  animals.  They 
communicate  the  prayers  of  men  to  God  and  the  will  of 
God  to  men,  either  in  person  or  through  signs  or  dreams 
and  "by  the  closest  aspiration  of  vocal  warning."  They 
are  capable  of  feeling,  and,  devoting  themselves  to  good 
men,  rejoice  in  their  prosperity  and  suffer  with  them  in 
their  adversity.  Both  of  these  first  two  classes  of  demons 
are  good, — kalodaemones.  But  the  third  class,  who  inhabit 
the  humid  atmosphere  near  the  earth  and  are  rational,  im- 
mortal, watery  animals,  and  capable  of  feeling,  are  in  every 
way  evil, — kakodaemones.  They  are  lustful,  cohabit  with 
women,  and  envy  and  plot  against  mankind,  for  men,  al- 
though fallen  from  grace  like  these  demons,  can  recover  their 
lost  estate  as  the  demons  cannot.^ 

William  offers  a  rather  novel  and  unusual  explanation    Astron- 
of  the  difference  in  meaning  between  the  terms  "astronomy"   a^r^o^ogy. 
and    "astrology,"    stating  that   authorities   on   the   subject 
speak  of  the  superior  bodies  in  three  ways,  the  fabulous,  the 

*Ed.  of  1531,  p.  65.  *Ibid.,  pp.  9-10. 


astrological,  and  the  astronomical.  The  method  by  fable  is 
that  employed  by  Aratus,  Memroth  (Nimrod  the  astrono- 
mer?), and  Hyginus  ("Eginus"),  who  interpret  the  Greek 
myths  in  an  astronomical  sense.  Hipparchus  and  Martianus 
Capella  are  representatives  of  the  astrological  method,  which 
treats  of  phenomena  as  they  appear  to  exist  in  the  heavens, 
whether  they  are  really  so  or  not.  Astronomy,  on  the 
contrary,  deals  with  things  as  they  are,  whether  they  seem 
to  be  so  or  not.  Exactly  what  he  has  in  mind  by  this  dis- 
tinction William  fails  to  make  any  clearer  as  he  proceeds, 
but  from  the  fact  that  he  lists  Julius  Firmicus  and  Ptolemy 
as  instances  of  the  astronomical  method  it  would  appear 
that  he  included  part  at  least  of  what  we  should  call  astrology 
under  "astronomy."  William  cites  yet  other  astronomical 
authorities,  advising  anyone  wishing  to  learn  about  the 
Milky  Way  to  read  Macrobius,  and  for  an  explanation  of 
the  signs  of  the  zodiac  to  consult  Helpericus  (of  Auxerre), 
the  ninth  century  compiler  of  a  Computus  which  occurs  with 
fair  frequency  in  the  manuscripts.^ 
Extent  William  represents  "Plato,  most  learned  of  all  philoso- 

■  n  phers,"  as  saying:  that  God  the  Creator  entrusted  the  task 

inuuence        r  >  y      & 

of  the  of  forming  the  human  body  to  the  stars  and  spirits  which 

He  had  first  created,  but  reserved  to  Himself  the  making 
of  the  human  soul.^  This  Christian  interpretation  or  rather 
perversion  of  Plato's  doctrine  in  the  Timaeiis  is  charac- 
teristic. William  accepts  to  the  full  the  control  of  the 
stars  over  nature  and  the  human  body,  but  stops  there.  Like 
Adelard  he  states  that  the  stars  are  composed  of  the  same 
four  elements  as  earthly  objects.  The  predominance  in 
their  composition  of  the  superior  elements,  fire  and  air, 
accounts  for  their  motion.  Their  motion  heats  the  atmos- 
phere which  in  turn  heats  the  element  water,  which  is  the 
fundamental  constituent  in  the  various  species  of  animals, 
which  further  differ  according  to  the  admixture  in  them  of 
the  other  elements.  Of  the  superior  elements  the  birds  of  the 
air  have  the  most,  and  fish  next.  Of  land  animals  choleric 
*  Ed.  of  1531,  pp.  30-32.  '  Ibid.,  preface. 



ones,  like  the  lion,  possess  most  fire;  phlegmatic  ones,  like 
pigs,  most  water;  and  melancholic  ones,  like  the  cow  and 
ass,  most  earth.  The  human  body  is  composed  of  an  un- 
usual harmony  of  the  four  elements,  to  which  Scripture 
alludes  in  saying  that  "God  formed  man  of  the  dust  of  the 
earth."  ^  William  also  lists  the  natural  qualities  and 
humors  of  each  planet  and  its  consequent  influence  for 
good  or  evil.  He  believes  that  the  ancient  astrologi  dis- 
covered that  Saturn  is  a  cold  star  by  repeatedly  observing 
that  in  those  years  when  the  Sun  in  Cancer  burned  the  earth 
less  than  usual,  Saturn  was  invariably  in  conjunction  with 
it  in  the  same  sign.  How  Saturn  comes  to  exert  this  chill- 
ing influence  William  is  less  certain.  He  has  already  denied 
the  existence  of  the  congealed  waters  above  the  firmament, 
so  that  he  cannot  accept  the  theory  that  Saturn  is  cold  be- 
cause of  its  proximity  to  them.  He  can  only  suggest  that 
its  great  distance  from  us  perhaps  explains  why  it  heats  less 
than  the  other  planets.-  The  good  and  evil  influences  of 
the  planets  also  come  out  in  the  astrological  interpretation 
of  myth  and  fable.  Thus  Saturn  is  said  to  carry  a  scythe 
because  one  who  carries  a  scythe  does  more  execution  in 
receding  than  in  advancing.  Jupiter  is  said  in  the  fables 
to  have  ousted  his  father  Saturn  because  the  approach  of 
the  planet  Jupiter  increases  the  evil  influence  of  Saturn. 
Jupiter  is  said  to  have  begotten  divers  children  in  adultery 
because  the  conjunctions  of  that  planet  produce  varied 
effects  upon  earth ;  and  Venus  is  said  to  have  had  adulterous 
intercourse  with  Mars  because  the  propinquity  of  the  planet 
Venus  to  the  planet  Mars  renders  the  former  less  benevo- 
lent. Mars  is  god  of  battle  because  the  planet  of  that  name 
produces  heat  and  drought  which  in  their  turn  engender 
animosity.^  As  the  tides  follow  the  phases  of  the  moon, 
so,  William  believes,  a  universal  flood  or  conflagration  may 
be  produced  by  the  simultaneous  elevation  or  depression  of 

^  Ed.    of    153 1,    pp.    24-25,    ".  .  .      terrae." 
et  hoc  est  quod  divina  pagina  dicit  "  Ibid.,  p.  34. 

deum    f ecisse    hominem    de    limo  '  Ibid.,  pp.  36-7. 






all  the  planets.^  But  he  accepts  comets  as  special  signs 
of  the  future  caused  by  the  Creator's  will  instead  of  at- 
tempting to  give  a  natural  explanation  of  the  events  which 
follow  them.^  This  is  perhaps  because  of  their  signifying 
human  events.  Thunder  and  lightning  are  discussed  without 
mention  of  divination  from  them.^ 

Thus  far  we  have  heard  William  cite  authorities  rather 
than  spurn  them  as  Adelard  did.  He  could,  however,  be 
independent  enough  on  occasion.  He  went  so  far  as  to 
reject  the  Scriptural  account  of  waters  above  the  firmament, 
if  that  word  were  taken  in  its  ordinary  astronomical  sense, 
as  naturally  impossible;  he  explained  away  the  passage  in 
Genesis  by  interpreting  the  firmament  to  mean  the  air,  and 
the  waters  above  it,  the  clouds.**  Like  Adelard,  too,  he  sev- 
eral times  feels  it  essential  to  justify  his  views  against  the 
possible  criticism  of  an  obscurantist  religious  party.  Dis- 
cussing the  Trinity,  he  insists  that  if  anyone  finds  some- 
thing in  his  book  which  is  not  found  elsewhere,  it  should 
not  on  that  account  be  stigmatized  as  heresy  but  only  if  it 
can  be  shown  to  be  against  the  Faith. ^  Thus  he  confirms 
Adelard's  complaint  that  the  present  generation  is  prejudiced 
against  any  modern  discoveries.  William,  by  the  way,  also 
employs  the  word  "modern."  Again,  in  affirming  the  phys- 
ical impossibility  of  reconciling  the  elements  fire  and  earth, 
he  notes  that  someone  may  object  that  God  could  find  a  way. 
To  this  he  replies  that  "we  do  not  place  a  limit  upon  divine 
power,  but  we  do  say  that  of  existing  things  none  can  do 
it,  nor  in  the  nature  of  things  can  there  be  anything  that 
would  suffice."  *  In  a  third  passage  his  indignation  is  fanned 
to  a  white  heat  by  those  who  say,  "We  do  not  know  how 
this  is,  but  we  know  that  God  can  do  it."  "You  poor  fools," 
he  retorts,  "God  can  make  a  cow  out  of  a  tree,  but  has  He 
ever  done  so?  Therefore  show  some  reason  why  a  thing 
is  so,  or  cease  to  hold  that  it  is  so."  '^     Elsewhere  he  yet 

*Ed.  of  1531,  p-  64. 
'  Ibid.,  p.  60. 
"Ibid.,  pp.  55-6. 
*  Ibid.,  pp.  28-9. 

"Ibid.,  p.  7. 

*  Ibid.,  p.  19. 

*  Ibid.,  p.  29. 


further  dilates  upon  the  unreasonableness  of  the  opponents 
of  natural  science,  who  are  loath  to  have  explained  even 
the  natural  facts  given  in  the  Bible  but  prefer  to  accept  them 
blindly,  and  who,  "since  they  themselves  are  unacquainted 
with  the  forces  of  nature,  in  order  that  they  may  have  all 
men  as  companions  in  their  ignorance,  wish  them  to  in- 
vestigate nothing  but  to  believe  like  rustics.  We,  on  the 
contrary,"  continues  William,  "think  that  a  reason  should 
be  sought  in  every  case,  if  one  can  be  found."  ^  Thus  he 
vigorously  echoes  Adelard's  exhortation  to  give  and  take 
reason,  and  his  retort  to  the  nephew's  suggestion  that  the 
growth  of  plants  from  earth  can  be  explained  only  as  a 
divine  miracle. 

William,  it  turned  out,  was  too  original  and  bold  in  Letter  of 
some  of  his  assertions  concerning  the  Trinity  and  kindred  ^f  s^^^"^ 
topics,  which  were  not  allowed  to  pass  unchallenged.  A  Thierry 
letter  to  St.  Bernard  from  William,  abbot  of  St.  Thierry,-  Bernard, 
shows  the  attitude  of  William  of  Conches'  opponents.  The 
abbot  first  says, — with  the  assumption  of  superior  serious- 
ness and  dignity  characteristic  through  all  time  of  conserva- 
tives, bigots,  and  pompous  persons  subconsciously  aware  of 
their  own  stupidity — that  anyone  who  knows  William  of 
Conches  personally  is  aware  of  his  levity  and  will  not 
take  his  vanities  too  seriously,  and  that  he  is  to  be  classed 
with  Abelard  in  the  presumptuousness  of  his  opinions.  The 
abbot  then  devotes  most  of  his  letter  to  an  attack  upon 
WilHam's  discussion  of  the  Trinity,  taking  umbrage  at  his 
discussing  questions  of  faith  at  all,  especially  upon  a  philo- 
sophical basis,  and  at  his  distribution  of  the  three  faculties, 
power,  will,  and  wisdom,  among  the  Three  Persons.  The 
abbot  more  briefly  objects  to  William's  physical  account  of 
the  creation  of  man,  saying :  "First  he  says  that  man's  body 
was  not  made  by  God  but  by  nature,  and  the  soul  was  given 
him  by  God  afterwards,  and  forsooth  that  the  body  was 

*  Ed.  of  1531,  p.  26.  erroribus  Guillelmi  de  Conchis  ad 

*  Migne  PL  180,  333-40,  Guillel-      sanctum  Bcrnardum. 
mi     abbatis     S.     Thcodorici     De 



Extent  of 
in  the 

tion  of 

made  by  spirits  whom  he  calls  demons  and  by  the  stars." 
This  doctrine  the  abbot  regards  as  on  the  one  hand  danger- 
ously close  to  the  opinion  "of  certain  stupid  philosophers 
who  say  that  there  is  nothing  but  matter  and  the  material, 
and  that  there  is  no  other  God  in  the  world  than  the  con- 
course of  the  elements  and  the  system  of  nature";  and  on 
the  other  hand  as  manifestly  Manichean,  affirming  that  the 
human  soul  is  created  by  a  good  God  but  the  body  by  the 
prince  of  darkness.  Finally  the  abbot  complains  that  Wil- 
liam "stupidly  and  haughtily  ridicules  history  of  divine 
authority,"  and  "interprets  in  a  physical  sense"  the  account 
of  the  creation  of  woman  from  one  of  Adam's  ribs. 

The  effect  of  this  theological  attack  upon  William  of 
Conches  can  probably  be  discerned  in  the  Dragmaticon. 
There  he  states  that  it  is  his  purpose  to  include  "many  essen- 
tial points"  which  were  not  contained  in  the  earlier  treatise, 
and  to  omit  those  statements  which  he  has  since  become 
convinced  are  erroneous.  He  then  proceeds  to  list  and  ex- 
pressly condemn  certain  statements  in  the  earlier  work  as 
contrary  to  the  Catholic  Faith,  and  he  asks  those  readers 
who  have  copies  of  that  treatise  to  make  these  corrections 
in  it.^  He  accordingly  retracts  his  assertion  that  in  the 
Trinity  the  Father  represents  power  and  the  Holy  Spirit 
will,  since  there  is  no  direct  scriptural  authority  for  this 
view,  but  he  still  maintains  that  the  Son  is  Wisdom  on  the 
authority  of  the  Apostle.  He  takes  back  his  interpretation 
of  the  words  of  the  Prophet  concerning  Christ,  "Who  will 
tell  his  generation?"  as  indicating  merely  the  difficulty  and 
not  the  impossibility  of  solving  that  mystery.  Finally  he 
reverts  to  the  letter  of  Scripture  in  regard  to  the  creation 
of  Eve. 

But  this  done,  William  becomes  his  old  self  again  in  the 
remainder  of  the  Dragmaticon.     In  the  role  of  the  philoso- 

^  This  was  the  impression  that 
I  received  from  the  text  in  CLM 
2595  rather  than  that  "His  former 
work,  therefore,  he  suppressed 
and    begged    everyone    who    pos- 

sessed the  book  to  join  him  in 
condemning  and  destroying  it" ; — 
R.  L.  Poole  (1884)  p.  130,  (1920) 
p.  no. 


pher  he  argues  at  length  with  the  duke  whether  Plato's  five 
circles  of  the  sky  and  division  of  spirits  into  kalodae- 
moncs  and  kakodaemones  is  in  agreement  with  the  Christian 
Faith.  Later  on,  when  the  duke  cites  Bede  against  him  in 
regard  to  some  astronomical  point,  he  replies  that  in  a  pure 
matter  of  faith  he  would  feel  obliged  to  accept  Bede's  au- 
thority, but  that  on  a  point  of  philosophy  he  feels  perfectly 
at  Hberty  to  disagree  with  him.  This  declaration  of  scien- 
tific independence  from  patristic  authority  became  a  locus 
classicus  cited  with  approval  by  several  writers  of  the  next 
century.  Presently  to  our  surprise  we  find  William  boldly 
inquiring  at  what  time  of  year  the  six  days  of  creation  oc- 
curred. He  also  indulges  as  before  in  somewhat  bitter  re- 
flections upon  the  learned  world  of  his  day. 

William,  therefore,  has  had  to  withdraw  some  theo-  No  denial 
logical  opinions  for  which  he  could  not  show  authority  in 
Scripture,  and  some  other  opinions  wherein  he  disregarded 
the  literal  meaning  of  the  Bible.  But  except  that  he  has 
to  agree  to  the  miraculous  account  of  the  creation  of  the 
first  woman,  he  does  not  seem  to  have  altered  his  views 
concerning  nature  and  philosophy,  nor  to  have  given  up  in 
any  way  his  scientific  attitude  or  his  astrological  theories. 
The  theologians  have  forced  him  to  conform  in  respect  to 
theology,  but  his  retraction  in  that  field  takes  the  form  of 
a  second  edition  of  his  treatise  and  a  reaffirmation  of  his 
astronomical  and  philosophical  views.  As  Haureau  well 
says,  "He  always  believes  in  science,  he  still  defends  in  the 
name  of  science,  in  the  accents,  and  by  the  method  of  the 
scholar,  everything  in  his  former  writings  that  has  not  been 
condemned  in  the  name  of  the  Faith.  .  .  .  So  it  is  no  de- 
nial of  philosophy  that  has  been  won  by  the  outcries  of 
William  of  St.  Thierry  and  Walter  of  St.  Victor;  ^  those  at- 
tacks have  resulted  in  merely  intimidating  the  theologian."  ^ 

*  Walter,  in  an  attack  upon  the  (1884)     pp.     349-50,     (1920)     pp. 

views    of    Abelard,    Gilbert   de    la  300-1. 

Porree,    and    others,    unjustly   ac-  ^'Q.  Yiaur^Sin,  Histoire  de  la  phi- 

cused     William     of     holding    the  losophic   scolastique,   ed.   of    1872, 

Epicurean    atomic    theory;    Poole  I,  445. 

62   MAGIC  AND  EXPERIMENTAL  SCIENCE    chap,  xxxvii 

William's  Siich  attacks,  moreover,  had  little  or  no  success  in  lessen- 

influence  ^^g"  William's  ultimate  future  influence.  How  utterly  they 
failed  to  intimidate  astrologers  may  be  inferred  from  the 
much  greater  lengths  to  which  William's  contemporary, 
Bernard  Silvester,  went  without  apparently  getting  into  any 
trouble,  and  from  the  half-hearted  arguments  against  the 
art  of  John  of  Salisbury  a  little  later  in  the  century.  As 
Doctor  Poole  has  already  pointed  out,  even  the  Philosophia, 
which  William  of  St.  Thierry  censured  and  which  William 
of  Conches  himself  modified,  survived  in  its  original  and 
unexpurgated  version  "to  be  printed  in  three  several  editions 
as  the  production  of  the  venerable  Bede,  of  saint  Anselm's 
friend,  William  of  Hirschau,  and  of  Honorius  of  Autun ; 
the  taint  of  heresy  plainly  cannot  have  been  long  perceptible 
to  medieval  librarians."  ^  Also  the  revised  edition,  or 
Dragniaticon,  "enjoyed  a  remarkable  popularity,  and  a  wide 
diffusion  attested  by  a  multitude  of  manuscripts  at  Vienna, 
Munich,  Paris,  Oxford,  and  other  places."  -  We  shall  find 
William's  book  much  used  and  cited  by  the  learned  writers 
of  the  following  centur}',  and  a  number  of  copies  of  it  are 
listed  in  the  fifteenth  century  catalogue  of  the  library  of  St. 
Augustine's  Abbey,  Canterbury.  If  then  from  the  contem- 
porary and  passing  world  of  talk  William  retired  disgusted 
and  discomfited  to  the  shelter  of  ducal  patronage,  in  the 
enduring  world  of  thought  and  letters  he  carved  for  him- 
self a  lasting  niche  by  his  comparative  intellectual  courage, 
originality,  and  thoroughness. 

*R.  L.  Poole  (1884)  p.  130,  (1920)  p.  III. 
'Ibid.,  p.  131,   (1920)  p.  III. 





Although,  as  the  ensuing  bibliography  will  make  appar- 
ent, a  variety  of  titles  have  been  at  one  time  or  another  ap- 
plied to  the  two  versions  of  the  work  in  question,  we  shall 
refer  to  the  original  version  as  Philosophia  and  the  revision 
as  Dragmaticon,  which  appear  to  be  both  the  handiest  and 
the  most  correct  appellations,  although  personally  I  should 
prefer  Dranmticus  for  the  latter.  The  two  works  may  per- 
haps be  most  readily  distinguished  by  their  Incipits,  which 
are,  for  Philosophia,  "Quoniam  ut  ait  TuUius  in  prologo 
rhetoricorum,  Eloquentia  sine  sapientia  .  .  .",  and  for 
Dragmaticon,  "Quaeris,  venerande  dux  Normannorum  et 
comes  Andagavensium,  cur  magistris  nostri  temporis  minus 
creditur  quam  antiquis.  .  .  ."  The  titles  and  the  number 
of  books  into  which  the  work  is  divided  differ  a  good  deal 
in  different  editions  and  manuscripts,  and  the  catalogues  of 
manuscript  collections  sometimes  do  not  identify  the  author. 

First  as  to  printed  editions.  Philosophia  has  been 
printed  three  times  as  the  work  of  three  other  authors. 

Philosophicarum  et  astronomicarum  institutionum  Guilelmi  Hirsau- 

giensis  oHm  abbatis  libri  tres,  Basel,  1531. 
Bede,   Opera,   1563,  11,  311-43,  Ilepi  AiSd^eoJv,   sive   Elementorum 

Philosophiae  Libri  IV. 
Honorius  of  Autun,  De  philosophia  mundi,  Migne,  PL  vol.  172. 

Dragmaticon  seems  to  be  have  been  printed  but  once  under 
the  title, 

Dialogus  de  substantiis  physicis  confectus  a  Guillelmo  aneponymo 
philosopho,  Strasburg,  1567. 



In  the  following  list  of  MSS,  which  is  no  doubt  far 
from  complete,  I  have  attempted  to  distinguish  between 
the  Philosophia  and  Dragrnaticon  but  have  often  had  to  rely 
only  upon  the  notices  in  catalogues  which  frequently  do 
not  give  the  opening  words  or  other  distinguishing  marks. 
The  following  MS  seems  unusual  in  apparently  containing 
both  versions,  if  by  "eiusdem  philosophia  secunda"  is  indi- 
cated the  Dragmaticon. 

CLM  564,  I2th  century,  with  figures,  fol.  i-,  Willelmi  de  Conchis 
philosophiae  libri  IV,   fol.  32-,  eiusdem  philosophia  secunda. 

MSS  of  the  Pkilosophia 

Egerton  935,  12th  century,  small  quarto,  Phylosophia  Magistri 
Willihelmi  de  Conchis,  cum  figuris. 

Egerton  1984,  13th  century,  fols.  2-33. 

Royal  9-A-XIV,  14th  century,  fols.  245-65,  Physicorum  libri  4. 

Royal  13-A-XIV,  $7,  "Quoniam  ut  ait  Tullius.  .  .  ." 

Additional  11676,  13th  century,  anon,  de  philosophia  naturali,  in 
three  parts. 

Additional  26770,  I3-I4th  century. 

Digby  104,  13th  century,  fol.  176-,  De  dementis  philosophiae 

University  College  6,  14th  century,  p.  389,  Philosophiae  compen- 
dium,  "Quoniam  ut  ait   Tullius.  .  .  ." 

Bodleian  (Bernard)  2596,  Jfio,  in  four  parts;  3623,  S30,  fol.  187V-; 
4056,  Ji. 

BN  6656,  14th  century,  Philosophia,  in  four  parts;  15025;  13th  cen- 
tury; 16207,  13th  century,  fol.  58-. 

Ste.  Genevieve  2200,  anno  1277,  fols.  1-47,  with  colored  figures, 
"Quoniam  ut  ait  Tullius.  .  .  ." 

Vienna  2376,  12th  century,  fols.  32V-64V,  "Incipit  prologus  in 
phylosophyam  Willehelmi.     Quoniam  ut  ait  Tullius.  .  .  ." 

Amplon.  Octavo  85,  13th  century;  Octavo  87,  mid  12th  century! 

CLM  2594,  13th  century,  fol.  24,  Compendium  philosophie  de 
naturis  corporum  celestium  et  terrenorum.     Sunt  libri  IV. 

CLM  2655,  late  13th  century,  fol.  106,  "Summa  de  naturis  videlicet 
totius  philosophiae,"  in  fine  nonnulla  desunt. 

CLM  14156,  15th  century,  fols.  1-18,  Philosophia  minor. 

CLM  14689,  I2th  century,  fols.  85-7,  Wilhelmi  Hirsaugiensis  dia- 
logus  de  astronomia,  supersunt  tria  tantum  folia. 


CLM  15407,  14th  century,  fols.  1-42,  philosophia. 

CLM  16103,  I2-I3th  century,  fols.  68-99,  philosophia  naturalis. 

CLM  1 89 1 8,  1 2th  century,  fols.  1-34,  de  philosophia. 

CLM  22292,  I2-I3th  century,  fol.  40,  "Quoniam  ut  ait  TuUius.  .  .  ." 

MSS  of  the  Dragmaticon 

CLM  2595,  13th  century,  43  fols.     Dragmaticus. 

CLM  7770,  14th  century,  56  fols.    De  secunda  philosophia. 

Florence  II,  VI,  2,  13th  century,  fols.  50-65,  "Queris  venerande 
dux.  .  .  ." 

Ashburnham  (Florence)  98,  13th  century,  fols.  2-41. 

Bibl.  Alex;  (Rome)  102,  I4-I7th  century,  fols.  112-209. 

Wolfenbiittel  4610,  I2-I4th  century,  fols.  78-160V,  Phisica  Willen- 
dini,  "Queris  venerande  dux.  .  .  ." 

Berlin  921,  13th  century. 

Vienna  5292,  15th  century,  fols.  105-57,  "Veros  {sic)  Venerande 
dux.  .  .  ." 

Vendome  189,   13th  century,  fols.   123-59. 

St.  John's  178,  early  13th  century,  fols.  266-360,  anon.,  "Queris 
venerande  dux.  .  .  ," 

Corpus  Christi  95,  end  I2-I3th  century,  fol.  i,  Universalis  Philoso- 
phiae  libri  tres  per  modum  dialogi  inter  Normannorum  ducem 
et  ipsum  doctorem. 

Digby  I,  14th  century,  fol.  i,  Dragmaticon. 

Digby  107,  14th  century,  Summa  magistri  Wilhelmi  de  Conches 
super  naturalibus  questionibus  et  responsionibus,  "Queris  vene- 
rande dux.  .  .  ."  The  catalogue  incorrectly  speaks  of  it  as  a 
dialogue  with  Henry,  duke  of  Normandy,  afterwards  Henry  II 
of  England. 

Bodleian  (Bernard)  3565. 

Royal  4-A-XIII,  #5,  Philosophia  naturalis,  "Queris,"  etc. 

Royal  12-F-X,  13th  century. 

Arundel  377,  13th  century,  fol.  104. 

Sloane  2424,  14th  century. 

Additional  18210,  I3-I4th  century. 

Egerton  830,  15th  century,  Dialogus  de  philosophia  inter  Henricum 
II  {sic)  Normannorum  ducem  et  ipsum  auctorem.  .  .  . 

BN  6415,  14th  century;  and  4694. 

Montpellier,  ficole  de  Med.  145. 

Troyes  1342. 



importance  of  medieval  translations — Plan  of  this  chapter — Trans- 
mission of  Arabic  astrology — Walcher,  prior  of  Malvern — Pedro  Al- 
fonso— His  letter  to  the  Peripatetics — Experimental  method — Magic 
and  scepticism  in  the  Disciplina  clericalis — John  of  Seville — Dates  in  his 
career — Further  works  by  him,  chiefly  astrological — John's  experimental 
astrology — Gundissalinus  De  divisione  philosophiae — Place  of  magic  in 
the  classification  of  the  sciences — Al-Farabi  De  ortu  scientiarum — 
Gundissalinus  on  astrology — Robert  Kilwardby  De  ortu  sive  divisione 
scientiarum — Plato  of  Tivoli — Robert  of  Chester — Hermann  the  Dal- 
matian— Hugh  of  Santalla — A  contemporary  memorial  of  Gerard  of 
Cremona — Account  by  a  pupil  of  his  astrological  teaching — Character 
of  Gerard's  translations — Science  and  religion  in  the  preface  to  a 
translation  of  the  Almagest  from  the  Greek — Arabs  and  moderns — 
Astronomy  at  Marseilles — Appendix  I.  Some  medieval  Johns,  men- 
tioned in  the  manuscripts,  in  the  fields  of  natural  and  occult  science, 
mathematics  and  medicine. 

tance of 

Already  we  have  treated  of  a  number  of  Arabic  works 
of  occult  science  which  are  extant  in  Latin  translations,  or 
have  mentioned  men,  important  in  the  history  of  medieval 
science  like  Constantinus  Africanus  or  Adelard  of  Bath, 
whose  works  were  either  largely  or  partly  translations.  In 
future  chapters  we  shall  have  occasion  to  mention  other 
men  and  works  of  the  same  sort.  We  have  already  seen, 
too,  that  translations  from  the  Greek  were  being  made 
all  through  the  early  middle  ages  and  in  the  tenth  century; 
and  we  shall  see  this  continue  in  the  twelfth  and  thirteenth 
centuries  especially  in  connection  with  Galen,  Aristotle,  and 
Ptolemy.  We  have  also  seen  reasons  for  suspecting  that 
the  Latin  versions  of  certain  works  were  older  than  the 
so-called  Greek  originals,  that  works  were  sometimes  trans- 
lated from  Arabic  into  Greek  as  well  as  from  Greek  into 



Arabic,  and  that  there  probably  never  were  any  Arabic 
originals  for  some  so-called  translations  from  the  Arabic 
which  are  extant  only  in  Latin,  All  this  is  not  yet  to  men- 
tion versions  from  Hebrew  and  Syriac  or  in  French,  Span- 
ish, and  Anglo-Saxon.  We  have  seen  also  in  general  how 
important  and  influential  in  the  history  of  medieval  learning 
was  the  work  of  the  translator,  and  yet  how  complicated 
and  difficult  to  follow.  Many  names  of  translators  are 
mentioned  in  the  medieval  manuscripts :  some,  for  instance, 
who  will  not  be  treated  of  in  the  present  chapter  are :  from 
the  Greek,  Aristippus  of  Sicily,  Bartholomew  of  Messina, 
Burgundio  of  Pisa,  Eugenius  admiral  of  Sicily,  Grumerus 
of  Piacenza,  Nicolaus  of  Reggio,  Stephen  of  Messina,  and 
William  of  Moerbeke;  from  the  Arabic,  Egidius  de  Te- 
baldis  of  Parma,  Arnold  of  Barcelona,  Blasius  Armegandus 
or  Ermengardus  of  MontpeUier,  Marcus  of  Toledo,  the 
canon  Salio  of  Padua,  John  Lodoycus  Tetrapharmacus, 
Philip  of  Spain,  Philip  of  Tripoli,  Roger  of  Parma,  Fer- 
ragius,  and  so  on.  But  not  all  such  names  of  translators 
can  be  correctly  placed  and  dated,  and  many  translations 
remain  anonymous  in  the  manuscripts.  Into  this  vast  and 
difficult  field  Jourdain's  work  on  the  medieval  translations 
of  Aristotle  made  but  an  entrance,  and  that  one  which  now 
needs  amendment,  and  even  such  extensive  bibliographical 
investigations  as  those  of  Steinschneider  have  only  made 
rough  charts  of  portions.  Some  detailed  monographs  on 
single  translators  ^  and  the  Hke  topics  have  been  written,  but 
many  more  will  be  required  before  we  shall  have  a  satis- 
factory general  orientation. 

The   subject   of   medieval   translations   as   a  whole   of   Plan 
course  in  any  case  lies  in  large  part  beyond  the  scope  of  our  Chapter, 
investigation   and  would   lead   us   into   other  literary   and 
learned  fields  not  bearing  upon  experimental  science  and 
magic.     In  the  present  chapter  we  shall  further  limit  our- 

*  Especially  by  Professor  C.  H.  has  other  studies  in  preparation 
Haskins,  who  has  corrected  or  in  addition  to  those  to  be  men- 
supplemented  Steinschneider  and  tioned  in  ensuing  footnotes  of 
others  on  various  points,  and  who  this   chapter- 



sion of 

selves  to  some  translators  of  the  twelfth  century  who  chiefly 
translated  works  of  astrology  from  the  Arabic  and  who, 
although  they  themselves  often  came  from  other  lands,  were 
especially  active  in  Spain.  One  or  two  men  will  be  intro- 
duced who  do  not  possess  all  these  qualifications,  but  who 
are  related  to  the  other  men  and  works  included  in  the 

Throughout  the  twelfth  century  from  its  first  years  to 
its  close  may  be  traced  the  transit  of  learning  from  the 
Arabic  world,  and  more  particularly  from  the  Spanish 
peninsula,  to  northwestern  Europe.  Three  points  may  be 
made  concerning  this  transmission :  it  involves  Latin  trans- 
lation from  the  Arabic;  the  matter  translated  is  largely 
mathematical,  or  more  especially  astronomical  and  astro- 
logical in  character;  finally,  it  is  often  experimental. 

On  the  very  threshold  of  the  twelfth  century,  in  addi- 
tion to  Adelard  of  Bath  to  whom  we  have  given  a  separate 
chapter,  we  meet  with  another  Englishman,  Walcher,  prior 
of  Malvern,  whom  we  find  associated  with  Peter  Alphonso 
or  Pedro  Alfonso,  who  apparently  was  a  converted  Spanish 
Jew.  Walcher's  experimental  observations  would  seem  to 
have  antedated  his  association  with  Pedro,  since  a  chapter 
headed,  "Of  the  writer's  experience,"  ^  in  lunar  tables  which 
he  composed  between  1107  and  11 12,  tells  of  an  ecHpse 
which  he  saw  in  Italy  in  1091  but  could  not  observe  exactly 
because  he  had  no  clock  {horologium)  at  hand  to  measure 
the  time,  and  of  another  in  the  succeeding  year  after  his 
return  to  England  which  he  was  able  to  observe  more  scien- 
tifically with  the  aid  of  an  astrolabe.  In  1120  Walcher 
translated  into  Latin,  at  least  according  to  the  testimony  of 
the  manuscripts,  an  astronomical  work  by  Pedro  Alfonso 
on   the    Dragon.^      Pedro  perhaps   wrote   the   original    in 

*  The  passage  is  reproduced  by 
C.  H.  Haskins,  "The  Reception 
of  Arabic  Science  in  England," 
EHR  30,  57,  from  Bodleian  Auct. 
F-i-9   (Bernard  4137),  fols.  86-99. 

'In  the  MS  mentioned  in  the 
Dreceding    note,    "Sententia    Petri 

Ebrei  cognomento  Anphus  de 
dracone  quam  dominus  Walcerus 
prior  Malvernensis  ecclesie  in 
latinam  transtulit  linguam ;"  Has- 
kins, Ibid.,  p.  58.  I  also  note  in 
Schum's  Verscichniss,  Amplon, 
Quarto    351,     14th    century,    fols. 


Hebrew  or  Spanish  or  translated  it  from  the  Arabic  into 
one  of  those  languages,  but  we  also  know  of  his  writing 
in  Latin  himself. 

This  Pedro  Alfonso  seems  to  have  been  the  same  ^  who  Pedro 
in  1 106  in  his  forty-fourth  year  was  baptized  at  Huesca  °"^°' 
with  the  name  of  his  godfather,  King  Alfonso  I  of  Aragon, 
and  who  wrote  the  Disci plina  clericalis  and  Dialogi  cum 
ludeo.  Indeed  we  find  the  Disciplina  clericalis  and  De 
dracone  ascribed  to  him  in  the  same  manuscript.^  In  an- 
other manuscript  chronological  and  astronomical  tables  are 
found  under  his  name  and  the  accompanying  explanatory 
text  opens,  "Said  Pedro  Alfonso,  servant  of  Jesus  Christ 
and  translator  of  this  book."  ^  This  expression  is  very 
similar,  as  Haskins  has  pointed  out,  to  a  heading  in  a 
manuscript  of  the  Disciplina  clericalis,  "Said  Pedro  Alfonso, 
servant  of  Christ  Jesus,  physician  of  Henry  the  first  {sic) 
king  of  the  Angles,  composer  of  this  book."  *  The  experi- 
mental pretensions  and  astrological  leanings  of  the  astro- 
nomical treatise  are  suggested  by  Pedro's  statement  that  the 

15-23,  the  De  dracone  of  Petrus  at  Toledo: — "et  iste  tractatus 
Alphonsus  with  a  table,  translated  translatus  fuit  a  nmgistro  Alfon- 
into  Latin  by  "Walter  Millvernen-  sio  Dionysii  de  Ulixbona  Hispano 
sis  prior."  After  two  intervening  apud  Valient  Toleti,  interprete 
tracts  concerning  the  astrolabe  by  magistro  Alfonso  converse,  sac- 
another  author  the  same  MS  con-  rista  Toletano."  The  treatise  is 
tains  "Alfoncius,"  De  disciplina  followed  at  fol.  194V  by  a  "Nar- 
clericali.  ration  concerning  Averroes  and 
^  But  not  the  same  apparently  the  Saracen  king  of  Cordova," 
as  an  Alfonsus  of  Toledo,  to  which  opens,  "This  is  worth 
whom  Steinschneider  (1905)  p.  4,  knowing  which  was  told  me  by 
has  called  attention,  and  who  Alfonso,  a  trustworthy  Jew,  phy- 
translated  a  work  by  Averroes  sician  of  the  king  of  Castile." 
(1126-1198)  preserved  in  Digby  ^Amplon.  Quarto  351,  as  noted 
236,  14th  century,  fol.  190.  Its  in  note  2  on  the  preceding  page, 
prologue  speaks  of  an  abridge-  ^  Corpus  Christi  283,  late  12th 
ment  of  the  Almagest  by  Aver-  century,  fols.  113-44,  "Dixit  Petrus 
roes  which  Alfoi^so  the  Great  Anfulsus  servus  Ihesu  Christi 
(presumably  Alfonso  X  or  the  translatorque  huius  libri  .  .  .", 
Wise  of  Castile,  1252-1284)  had  quoted  by  Haskins,  EHR  30,  60. 
had  translated  and  which  was  in  *  CU  li,  vi,  11,  fol.  95.  "Dixit 
circulation  in  Spain  and  at  Bo-  Petrus  Amphulsus  servus  Christi 
logna.  From  the  Explicit  of  the  Ihesu  Henrici  primi  regis  Anglo- 
same  treatise  one  would  infer  that  rum  medicus  compositor  huius 
two  Alfonsos  were  engaged  in  its  libri";  quoted  by  Haskins,  Ibid., 
translation,  one  a  son  of  Diony-  61.  Pedro  would  hardly  have 
sius  of  Lisbon,  and  the  other  a  called  Henry  "first",  so  the  head- 
convert,  who  became  a   sacristan  ing  is  perhaps  not  entirely  genuine. 



science  of  the  stars  divides  into  three  parts,  marvelous  in 
reasoning,  notable  in  the  signification  of  events,  and  ap- 
proved in  experience ;  and  that  the  third  part  is  the  science 
of  the  nature  of  the  spheres  and  stars,  and  their  significa- 
tions in  earthly  affairs  which  happen  from  the  virtue  of 
their  nature  and  the  diversity  of  their  movements,  things 
known  by  experiment. 

In  a  manuscript  at  the  British  Museum  ^  I  have  read 
what  seems  to  be  a  third  astronomical  treatise  by  Pedro 
Alfonso,  differing  both  from  the  preceding  and  from  the 
De  dracone.^  We  meet  as  before  the  expression,  "Said 
Alfonso,  servant  of  Jesus  Christ  and  translator  of  this 
book,"  ^  and  the  emphasis  upon  experiment  and  astrology 
continues.  It  will  be  noted  further  that  in  this  treatise, 
which  takes  the  form  of  a  letter  to  Peripatetics  and  those 
nourished  by  the  milk  of  philosophy  everywhere  through 
France,  Pedro  is  no  longer  connected  with  Englishmen, 
although  this  manuscript,  too,  is  in  an  English  library. 
After  rehearsing  the  utility  of  grammar,  dialectic,  and 
arithmetic,  Pedro  finally  comes  to  astronomy,  an  art  with 
which  "all  of  the  Latins  generally"  are  little  acquainted,  in 
which  he  himself  has  long  been  occupied,  and  a  portion  of 
which  he  presents  to  them  as  something  rare  and  precious. 
It  has  come  to  his  ears  that  some  seekers  after  wisdom  are 
preparing  to  traverse  distant  provinces  and  penetrate  to 
remote  regions  in  order  to  acquire  fuller  astronomical 
knowledge,  and  he  proposes  to  save  them  from  this  in- 
convenience by  bringing  astronomy  to  them.  Apparently, 
therefore,  this  letter  to  the  Peripatetics  and  other  students 
of  philosophy  is  simply  the  advertisement  of,  or  preface  to, 

*  Arundel  270,  late  12th  century, 
fols.  4OV-44V,  Epistola  de  studio 
artium  liberalium  praecipue  as- 
tronomiae  ad  peripateticos  alios- 
que  philosophicos  ubique  per 

*  So  far  as  I  can  judge  from 
Professor  Haskins'  description  of 
and  brief  excerpts  from  them ;  he 
does  not  notice  the  Arundel  MS. 

^  This  occurs  at  f ol.  43r  in  the 
midst  of  the  treatise ;  at  the  be- 
ginning, in  addressing  the  Peri- 
patetics and  other  philosophers 
and  students  throughout  France, 
the  writer  calls  himself,  "Pctrtts 
Anidefimfus,  servant  of  Jesus 
Christ,  and  their  brother  and  fel- 
low student." 


a  translation  by  Pedro  of  some  astronomical  or  astrological 
work,  presumably  from  the  Arabic.^  It  is  accordingly 
mainly  devoted  to  a  justification  of  the  thorough  study  of 
astronomy  and  astrology.  Many  persons,  in  Pedro's  opin- 
ion, are  simply  too  lazy  to  take  the  trouble  to  ground  them- 
selves properly  therein.  Those  who  think  they  know  all 
about  the  subject  because  they  have  read  Macrobius  and  a 
few  other  authors  are  found  wanting  in  a  crisis, — a  passage 
meant  doubtless  as  a  hit  at  those  who  base  their  knowledge 
of  astronomy  simply  upon  Latin  authors.  Pedro  also 
alludes  to  those  who  have  been  accustomed  to  regard  them- 
selves as  teachers  of  astronomy  and  now  hate  to  turn  pupils 

The  contrast  which  Pedro  draws,  however,  is  not  so  Experi- 
much  between  Latin  and  Arabic  writings  as  it  is  between  ^e[hod 
dependence  upon  a  few  past  authorities  and  adoption  of 
the  experimental  method.  He  argues  that  the  principles 
of  astronomy  were  discovered  in  the  first  place  only  through 
experimentation,  and  that  today  no  one  can  understand 
the  art  fundamentally  without  actual  observation  and  ex- 
perience. He  believes  that  astrology  as  well  as  astronomy 
is  proved  by  experience.  "It  has  been  proved  therefore  by 
experimental  argument  that  we  can  truly  affirm  that  the 
sun  and  moon  and  other  planets  exert  their  influences  in 
earthly  affairs."  ^  Or,  as  he  says  in  another  passage,  "And 
indeed  many  other  innumerable  things  happen  on  earth  in 
accordance  with  the  courses  of  the  stars,  and  pass  un- 
noticed by  the  senses  of  most  men,  but  are  discovered  and 
understood  by  the  subtle  acumen  of  learned  men  who  are 
skilled  in  this  art."  ^     Pedro's  letter  further  includes  some 

^  See     fol.     42V,     "Ceterum     in  page  he  employs  the  same  phrase 

nostro     translationis     inicio     pro-  again,  '"Ostensum  est  quod  eodem 

logum  dictate  curavimus  de  veri-  experimentali   argumento.  .  ." 

tate  videlicet  artis."  *  Fols.   44v-4Sr,    "Multa   quidem 

'  Fol.   44V,   "Probatum   est  ergo  alia   et   innumerabilia   iuxta   syde- 

argumento  experimentali  quod  re  rum    cursus    in    terra    contingunt 

vera  possumus  affirmare  solem  et  atque  vulgarium  sensus  hominum 

lunam    aliosque    planetas    in    ter-  non     attingit,     prudentium     vero 

renis    viras    (sic)    suas   exercere."  atque  huius  artis  peritorum  subtile 

A  little  further  along  on  the  same  acumen  penetrat  et  cognoscit." 


astrological  medicine,  interesting  in  connection  with  the 
statement  in  another  manuscript  that  he  was  the  physician 
of  Henry  I  of  England.  In  this  context,  too,  he  shows 
familiarity  with  the  translations  from  the  Arabic  of  Con- 
stantinus  Africanus.^ 

Pedro's  Disci'plina  clericalis,^  although  a  collection  of 
oriental  tales  rather  than  a  work  of  natural  science,^  con- 
tains one  or  two  passages  of  interest  to  us.  Asked  by  a 
disciple  what  the  seven  arts  are,  the  master  gives  a  list  some- 
what different  from  the  common  Latin  triviimi  and  quad- 
rizium,  namely,  logic,  arithmetic,  geometry,  physics,  music, 
and  astronomy.  As  to  the  seventh  there  is  some  dispute, 
he  says.  Philosophers  who  believe  in  divination  make 
necromancy  the  seventh ;  other  philosophers  who  do  not 
believe  in  predictions  substitute  philosophy;  while  persons 
who  are  ignorant  of  philosophy  affirm  that  grammar  is  one 
of  the  seven  arts.^  Thus  while  Pedro  retains  all  four  arts 
of  the  qiiadriznum,  he  holds  only  to  logic  in  the  case  of  the 
trivium,  omitting  rhetoric  entirely  and  tending  to  substitute 
physics  and  necromancy  for  it  and  grammar.  This  tendency 
away  from  belles-lettres  to  a  curriculum  made  up  of  logic 
and  philosophy,  mathematical  and  natural  science,  also  soon 
became  characteristic  of  Latin  learning,  while  the  tendency 
to  include  necromancy  as  one  of  the  liberal  arts  or  natural 
sciences,  although  less  successful,  will  be  found  in  other 
writers  who  are  to  be  considered  in  this  chapter.  In  the 
passage  just  discussed  the  importance  of  the  number  seven 
also  receives  emphasis,  as  the  master  goes  on  to  speak  of 
other  sevens  than  the  arts.  One  is  impressed  also  in  read- 
ing the  Disciplina  clericcdis  by  a  sceptical  note  concerning 

^  Fol.  41V,  "sicut  Constantinus  in  Bulletin,    1919. 

libro  suo  quem  de  lingua  saracena  ^  In  the  preface  (Hulme's  trans- 

transtulit  in  latinam  testatur."  lation,  p.  13)   Pedro  says,  "I  have 

'  The  most  recent  edition  of  the  composed    this    little    book    partly 

Latin    text    is    A.    Hilka    and    W.  from  the  sayings  and  warnings  of 

Soderhjelm,    Petri    Alfonsi    Dis-  the     philosophers,      partly      from 

ciplina    Clericalis,    191 1.      An   En-  Arabic  proverbs  and   admonitions 

glish    version    from    a    15th    cen-  both  in  prose  and  verse,  and  part- 

tury  MS  in  Worcester  Cathedral  ly  from  fables  about  animals  and 

was   edited   by   W.   H.   Hulme  in  birds." 

The    Western   Reserve   University  *  Discip.   cleric.,  I,  9. 


magic  and  the  marvelous  properties  of  natural  objects,  as 
in  the  tale  of  the  thief  who  repeated  a  charm  seven  times 
and  tried  to  take  hold  of  a  moonbeam,  but  as  a  result  fell 
and  was  captured,  and  in  the  tale  of  the  Churl  and  the  Bird, 
who  promised  his  captor,  if  released,  to  reveal  three  pieces 
of  wisdom.^  The  first  was  not  to  believe  everyone.  "This 
saide,"  in  the  quaint  wording  of  the  medieval  EngHsh  ver- 
sion, "the  litel  brid  ascendid  vpon  the  tree  and  with  a 
sweete  voice  bigan  to  synge:  'Blessid  be  god  that  hath 
shit  and  closed  the  sight  of  thyn  eyen  and  taken  awey  thi 
vvisdam,  forwhi  if  thow  haddest  sought  in  the  plites  of  myn 
entrailes  thow  shuldest  have  founde  a  jacinct  the  weight 
of  an  vnce.'  "  When  the  churl  wept  and  beat  his  breast 
at  this  announcement  of  his  lost  opportunity,  the  bird 
again  warned  him  not  to  be  so  credulous.  "And  how  be- 
livistow  that  in  me  shuld  be  a  jacynt  the  weight  of  an  vnce, 
whan  I  and  al  my  body  is  nat  of  somoche  weight?" 

Apparently  the  chief  and  most  voluminous  translator  of  John  of 
astrological  works  from  Arabic  into  Latin  in  the  twelfth  Seville, 
century  was  John  of  Seville.^  Although  he  translated  some 
other  mathematical,  medical,  and  philosophical  treatises,  the 
majority  of  his  translations  seem  to  have  been  astrological, 
and  they  remained  in  use  during  the  later  middle  ages  and 
many  of  them  appeared  in  print  in  early  editions.  So  many 
Johns  ^  are  mentioned  in  medieval  manuscripts  and  even 
wrote  in  almost  the  same  fields  as  John  of  Seville  that  it  is 
not  easy  to  distinguish  his  works.  Jourdain  identified  him 
with  a  John  Avendeath  or  Avendehut  (Joannes  ibn  David) 
who  worked  with  the  archdeacon  Gundissalinus  under  the 
patronage  of  Raymond,  archbishop  of  Toledo  from  1126  to 
1151.^  John  of  Seville  was  perhaps  not  the  man  who  worked 
with  Gundissalinus  ^  but  he  certainly  appears  to  have  ad- 

^Discip.  cleric,  XVII,  48.  *  Jourdain  (1819)  pp.  113  et  scq., 

^  The    fullest    list    of    his    trans-  449. 

lations  that  I  know  of  is  in  Stein-  ^  A    difficulty    is    that    John    of 

Schneider   (1905)   pp.  41-50.  Seville's  translations  are  usually  de- 

^  See    Appendix    I    at    the    close  scribed   as   direct  from   the   Arabic 

of  this  chapter  for  a  list  of  some  and  nothing  is   said  of  Gundissali- 

of  them.  nus,    whereas    in    the    preface    to 



dressed  translations  to  Archbishop  Raymond.  Thus  in 
speaking  of  Costa  ben  Luca's  De  dijferentia  spiritus  et  ani- 
mae  we  saw  that  the  manuscripts  stated  that  it  was  trans- 
lated by  John  of  Seville  from  Arabic  into  Latin  for  Arch- 
bishop Raymond  of  Toledo.^  John  of  Seville  is  further 
styled  of  Luna  or  Limia,  in  one  manuscript  as  bishop  of 
Luna,^  and  also  seems  to  be  the  same  person  as  John  of 
Toledo  or  of  Spain.  In  one  of  the  citations  of  the  Specu- 
lum astronomiae  of  Albertus  Magnus  he  is  called  "Joannes 
Ulgembus  Hispalensis."  ^  John  Paulinus,  who  translated 
a  collection  of  twelve  experiments  with  snake-skin  entitled 
Life-saver  which  he  discovered  when  he  "was  in  Alexan- 
dria, a  city  of  the  Egyptians,"  is  in  at  least  one  manuscript 
of  his  translation  identified  with  John  of  Spain.^ 
j)j^^gg  Certain  dates  in  the  career  of  John  of  Seville  may  be 

inhis^  regarded  as  fairly  well  fixed.  In  the  Arabic  year  529,  or 
1 135  A.  D.,  he  translated  the  Rudiments  of  Astronomy  of 
Alfraganus  (Ahmed  b.  Muh.  b.  Ketir  el-Fargani,  or  Al- 
Fargani)^;  in  1142  A.  D.  he  compiled  his  own  Epitome  of 

Avicenna's  De  an'nna  John  Aven-  Tyberiadis  cum  laude  Dei  et  eius 
death  tells  the  archbishop  that  he  auxilio  quem  transtulit  magister 
has  translated  it  word  for  word  Johannes  Hispalensis  atque  Limen- 
from  Arabic  into  Spanish,  and  sis  de  Arabico  in  Latinum."  Like- 
that  Dominicus  Gundisalvus  has  wise  in  CU  Clare  College  15  (Kk. 
then  rendered  the  vernacular  into  4.2),  c.  1280  A.  D.,  fol.  64V. 
Latin:  Steinschneider  (1893)  pp.  "^ Spec,  astron.,  cap.  2. 
981  and  380,  note  2;  J.  Wood  *  Arundel  251,  14th  century,  fol. 
Brown  (1897)  p.  117;  Karpinski  35V,  "Cum  ego  Johannis  hyspani- 
(1915)     PP-     23-4.       But     perhaps  cus.  .  .  ." 

John  learned  Latin  as  time  passed.  Steinschneider  (1905)  p.  51, 
However,  as  far  as  I  know,  there  lists  "Johannes  Pauli,  oder  Pau- 
ls no  MS  where  John  of  Spain  lini,"  as  distinct  from  John  of 
is  definitely  called  John  Aven-  Spain.  I  shall  treat  of  the  Salus 
death  or  vice  versa.  vitac  in  a  later  chapter  on  "Ex- 

^  For  example,   S.   Marco  X-57,  periments   and    Secrets   of    Galen, 

13th    century,    f  ols.    278-83 ;    Av-  Rasis    and    Others :    H.    Chemical 

ranches    232,    13th    century;    BN  and   Magical."     See  below,  chap- 

6296,  14th  century,  5  15.  ter  65,  page  794. 

"Amplon.  Quarto  365,  14th  cen-  "Printed  in  1497,  1537,  and  1546 

tury,    fols.    100-19,   Liber   Haomar  as   Brevis   ac   perutilis   compilatio 

de  nativitatibus  in  astronomia  ...  or  Rudimcnta  astronomiae.    Digby 

quem     transtulit     mag.     lohannes  190,  13- 14th  century,  fol.  87,  gives 

Hyspalensis  et  Lunensis  epyscopus  the  Arabic  year  as  529,  while  its 

ex  Arabico  in  Latinum.     "Bishop"  1173  should  obviously  not  be  A.  D. 

is  omitted  in  Digby  194,  15th  cen-  but  of  the   Spanish  era.     Corpus 

tury,     fol.     127V,     "Perfectus     est  Christi  224  gives  the  Arabic  year 

liber    universus    Aomar    Benigan  as  528.  and  the  era  date  has  been 



the  Art  of  Astrology  or  Quadripartite  Work  of  Judg- 
ments of  the  Stars,^  consisting  of  Isagoge  in  astrologiam 
and  four  books  of  judgments.  In  1153  A.  D.  he  translated 
the  Nativities  of  Albohali  -  (Yahya  b.  Galib,  Abu  Ali  el- 
Chaiyat),  if  we  accept  the  "John  of  Toledo"  who  is  said  to 
have  translated  that  treatise  as  the  same  person  as  our  John 
of  Spain. ^    John  of  Spain  is  sometimes  said  to  have  died  in 

altered  to  clxx.  m.  (1170),  prob- 
ably from  mclxxiii  (1173),  the 
initial  'm'  dropping  out.  and  the 
final  'iii'  in  consequence  being  mis- 
read by  a  copyist  as  'm.'  The 
same  careless  copyist  has  perhaps 
dropped  an  'i'  from  the  arabic 
year.  In  BN  6506  and  7377B, 
according  to  Jourdain  (1819)  pp. 
1 15-6,  the  Arabic  year  is  529,  but 
the  other  1070,  a  further  error. 
I  suppose  this  is  the  same  treatise 
as  the  Liber  in  scientia  astrorum 
et  radicibus  motuum  cclestium  or 
Theoria  planetaruni  et  stellaniin 
of  "El-Fargdni"  which  Sudhoff 
(1917)  p.  27,  following  J.  Brink- 
mann,  Die  apokryphen  Gesund- 
heitsregeln  des  Aristoteles,  1914, 
says  John  of  Toledo  translated 
into  Latin  in   1134. 

^Epitome  totius  astrologiae 
conscripta  a  loanne  Hispalensi 
Hispano  astrologo  celeberrimo 
ante  annos  quadringentos  ac  nunc 
primum  in  lucent  edita.  Cum 
praefatione  loachimi  Helleri  Leu- 
copetraei  contra  astrologiae  ad- 
uersarios.  Noribergae  in  oMcina 
loannis  Montani  et  Ulrici  Neuber, 
Anno  Domini  M.D.XLVIH.  The 
date  1 142  is  given  at  fol.  i8r  and 
at  the  close,  fol,  87V. 

Steinschneider  (1905),  p.  41, 
"im  Jahre  1142  kompilierte  er, 
nach  arabischen  Mustern,  eine 
Epitome  totius  astrologiae,  ed. 
1548,  deren  Teile  {Isagoge  und 
Quadripart.)  mit  besonderen 
Titeln  vielleicht  in  einzelnen  mss. 
zu    erkennen   waren." 

In  the  14th  century  MSS,  S. 
Marco  XI-102,  fols.  107-31,  and 
XI-104,  fols.  1-30,  the  title  is 
"epitome  artis  astrologiae."  Vi- 
enna 5442,  15th  century,  fols. 
I58r-79v,  Opus  quadripartitum  de 

iudiciis  astrorum,  has  the  same 
Incipit,  "Zodiacus  dividitur  in 
duodecim.  .  .  ."  See  also  Amplon. 
Octavo  84,  14th  century,  fols.  i- 
37,  and  Quarto  377,  14th  century, 
fols.  7-1 1,  ludicia  lohannis  His- 
palensis,  and  BN  7321,  1448  A.  D., 
fols.  I22r-i54v,  "Incipiunt  ysagoge 
lohannis  Hyspalensis  cum  parte 
astrologie  iudiciali." 

"  Laud.  Misc.  594,  I4-I5th  cen- 
tury, fols.  94-106,  Liber  Albohali 
de  nativitatibus  translatus  a  Jo- 
hanne  Toletano.  "Perfectus  est 
liber  Nativitatis  mense  Julii  anno 
ab  Incarnatione  Domini  millesimo 
cliii  cum  laude  Dei  et  ejus  auxi- 

CU  Clare  College  15  (Kk.  4,  2), 
c.  1280  A.  D.,  fols.  39-47,  does  not 
name  the  translator  but  gives  the 
date  as  1153,  and  the  same  MS, 
fols.  24-9,  contains  John  of 
Seville's  translations  of  a  work  on 
the  astrolabe  in  40  chapters,  of 
treatises  by  Messahalla  at  fols. 
48-55,  and  Aomar  at  fols.  56-64. 

Royal  12-C-XVIII,  14th  cen- 
tury, fols.  2-9V,  ends  incomplete, 
but  a  colophon  added  in  another 
hand  gives  the  date  as  1152. 

The  work  was  printed  at  Niirn- 
berg,  1546. 

There  is  a  different  translation 
of  it,  made  by  Plato  of  Tivoli  in 
1 136  A.  D.,  in  Cotton  Appendix 
VI,  fol.  163-,  Aubueli  liber  in 
judiciis  nativitatum  quem  Plato 
Tiburtinus  ex  Arabico  sumpsit 
Ao.  Arabum  530  et  alexandri  1447 
in  civitate  Barkelona. 

'  Steinschneider  ascribes  the 
translation  of  Albohali  to  John 
of  Spain ;  the  Catalogue  of  the 
Royal  Manuscripts  says  that 
Johannes  Toletanus  is  possibly  the 
same  as  John  of  Spain,     Sudhofif 



1 1 57,  but  Forster  argued  that  the  Tarasia,  queen  of  Spain, 
to  whom  the  medical  portion  of  the  pseudo-Aristoteh'an 
Secret  of  Secrets,  translated  by  John  of  Spain,  was  dedi- 
cated, was  not  the  queen  of  Portugal  contemporary  with 
Archbishop  Raymond  of  Toledo,  but  queen  of  Leon  from 
1 176  to  1 180;  and  in  1175  a  monk  of  Mt.  Tabor  is  called 
Johannes  Hispanus.^  If  a  Vienna  manuscript  is  correct  in 
saying  that  a  marvelous  cure  for  a  sore  heel  which  it  con- 
tains was  sent  to  Pope  Gregory  by  John  of  Spain,  the  pope 
meant  must  be  Gregory  VIII  (1187).-  There  is  of  course 
no  impossibility  in  the  supposition  that  the  literary  career 
of  John  of  Spain  extended  from  the  days  of  Archbishop 
Raymond  to  those  of  Gregory  VIII  or  Queen  Tarasia.  Still 
there  is  some  doubt  whether  all  the  works  extant  under  the 
name  John  of  Spain  were  composed  by  the  same  individual.^ 
Several  books  dealing  with  the  science  of  judgments 
from  the  stars  by  John  of  Spain  are  included  in  the  bibli- 
ography of  deserving  works  of  astrology  in  the  Speculum 
Astronomiae  of  Albertus  Magnus,  but  are  perhaps  simply 
sections  of  his  Epitome  ^  which,   after  discussing  in   the 

(1917).  P-  17.  identifies  "Johann 
von  Toledo  (Hispanus,  Avende- 

Perhaps,  however,  the  John  of 
Toledo  to  whom  a  treatise  en- 
titled, De  conservanda  sanitate,  is 
ascribed  in  two  14th  century  MSS 
at  Paris,  BN  6978,  It  i  and  16222, 
fol.  76-;  also  Berlin  905,  15th  cen- 
tury, f ol.  74- ;  CU  Gonville  and 
Caius  95,  isth  century,  fol.  283-; 
was  not  the  same  person. 

Rose,  in  the  Berlin  MSS  cata- 
logue, identifies  this  last  John  of 
Toledo  with  a  John  David  of 
Toledo  who  in  1322  joined  with 
other  astrologers  in  issuing  a 
threatening  circular  letter  predict- 
ing terrible  events  for  the  year 
1329.  See  Amplon.  Quarto  371  for 
another  such  letter  for  the  year 
1371,  and  Amplon.  Octavo  79  for 
tables  of  conjunctions  of  the  sun 
and  moon  for  the  years  1346-1365 
by  a  John  of  Toledo. 

^  R.  Forster,  De  Aristotelis  quae 

feruntur  physiognomonicis  recen- 
sendis,  Killiae,  1882,  pp.  26-27;  J. 
Wood  Brown  (1897),  35;  HL 
XXX,  369. 

^Vienna  5311,  I4-I5th  century, 
fol.  41V. 

^  A  work  that  I  have  not  before 
seen  ascribed  to  him  is,  Perugia 
683,  15th  century,  fols.  393-6,  "In- 
cipit  summa  magistri  lohannis 
yspani  super  arborem  de  con- 

Steinschneider  fails,  I  think,  to 
note  in  his  list  of  John's  transla- 
tions an  "introductio  de  cursu 
planetarum"  (St.  John's  188,  late 
13th  century,  fol.  99v-)  which  he 
translated  from  Arabic  into  Latin 
at  the  request  of  two  ".Angligena- 
rum,  Gauconis  scilicet  et  Willel- 

*  However,  the  Incipits  given 
by  .Mbert  do  not  agree  very  well 
with  those  of  the  sections  of  the 
Epitome  in  the  printed  text  of 
1548.     See  chapter  42  for  the  re- 


Isagoge  the  natures  of  the  signs  and  planets,  takes  up  in 
turn  the  four  main  divisions  of  judicial  astrology,  namely; 
conjunctions  and  revolutions,  nativities,  interrogations,  and 
elections.  John  seems  to  have  translated  several  astrologi- 
cal treatises  by  Albumasar  and  Messahala  (Ma-sa-allah), 
the  treatise  by  Thebit  ben  Corat  on  astrological  images  of 
which  we  have  already  treated,  that  by  Abenragel  ('All  b. 
abi'l-Rigal,  abu'l-Hasan)  on  elections,  and  the  Introduction 
to  the  Mystery  of  Judgments  from  the  Stars  by  Alchabitius 
or  Alcabitius  ^  ('Abderaziz  b.  'Otman  el-Qabisi),  which 
should  not  be  confused  with  his  own  somewhat  similar 
Ysagoge.  Of  other  translations  by  John  of  Spain,  such  as 
a  portion  of  the  Secret  of  Secrets  of  the  Pseudo-Aristotle, 
the  twelve  experiments  with  pulverized  snake-skin,  and 
Costa  ben  Luca's  De  differentia  spiritus  et  animae,  we  treat 
elsewhere.  He  was  perhaps  also  the  author  of  a  chiro- 

The  experimental  character  of  John's  own  handbook  on  John's  ex- 
astrology  is  worth  noting.  In  the  main,  it  is  true,  he  fol-  astrology! 
lows  the  works  of  the  philosophers  and  astrologers  of  the 
past,  especially  when  he  finds  them  in  agreement.^  Besides 
constantly  alluding  to  what  astrologers  in  general  or  the 
ancients  say  on  the  point  in  question,  he  often  cites  of  the 
Greeks  Ptolemy  and  Dorotheus  ("Dorothius")  and  Her- 
mes and  Doronius,  but  probably  through  Arabic  mediums. 
He  also  gives  us  the  views  of  the  masters  of  India,  and  dis- 
semblance between  this  printed  ^  S.  Marco  XI-105,  14th  cen- 
text  and  a  treatise  in  MS  ascribed  tury,  fols.  54-61,  "Cyromancia  est 
to  Roger  of  Hereford.  ars     demonstrans     mores     et     in- 

^  Arundel  268,  I3-I4th  century,  clinationes  naturales  per  signa 
fols.  7v-23r,  Abdolaziz  Arabis  sensibilia  manuum."  Valentinelli 
libellus  ad  judicium  astrorum  comments,  "Eadem  fortasse  cum 
introductorius  qui  dicitur  Alka-  chiromantia  loannis  Hispalensis 
bitius,  interprete  Johanne  Hispa-  quam  inter  codices  manuscriptos 
lensi.  loannis    Francisci   Lauredani   To- 

S.   Marco  XI-104,   14th  century,       masinus  refert." 
fols.    79-102,    Alcabitii    ad    indicia  ^Epitome,  II,  xx,  "lam  radicem 

astrorum  interpretatum  a  lohanne  nativitatis  secundum  philosopho- 
Hispalensi.  rum    dicta    complevimus    nee   edi- 

BN  7321,  1448  A.  D.,  fols.  i-79r,  dimus  nisi  ea  in  quibus  sapientes 
Introductorium  ad  magisterium  convenerunt  et  ex  quibus  experi- 
iudiciorum  astrorum.  mentum  habetur." 








tinguishes  as  "more  recent  masters  of  this  art"  ^  the  Arabic 
writers  "Alchindus"  and  Messahala.  The  latter  he  seems  to 
regard  as  an  Indian  or  at  least  as  skilful  in  their  methods 
of  judgment.^  But  he  also  notes  when  his  authorities  are 
in  disagreement  ^  or  points  out  that  his  own  experience  in 
many  nativities  contradicts  their  views,"*  against  which  John's 
readers  are  warned  when  they  find  them  in  the  books  of 
judgments.  Even  Ptolemy  is  twice  criticized  on  the  basis 
of  actual  experiment.''  We  see  that  John  was  not  merely 
a  translator  or  writer  on  astrology  but  an  expert  practitioner 
of  the  art.  He  supplements  the  divergent  views  of  past 
authorities,  or  qualifies  their  consensus  of  opinion,  by  his 
own  apparently  rich  experience  as  a  practicing  or  experi- 
mental astrologer.  Indeed,  for  him  the  theory  and  practice 
of  the  art,  the  paths  of  reason  and  experience,  are  so  united 
that  he  not  merely  speaks  of  "this  reasoning"  or  view  as 
being  "tested  by  experience,"  ^  but  seems  to  employ  the 
words  ratio  and  experimcntum  somewhat  indiscriminately 
for  astrological  tenet  or  technique.'^ 

The  chief  known  work  of  Gundissalinus,  the  archdeacon 
who  was  for  a  time  perhaps  associated  with  John  of  Spain 
in  the  labor  of  translation,  is  his  De  divisione  philosophiae,^ 

^  Epitome,  III,  viii,  "luniores 
huius  artis  magistri  dicunt  posse 
inveniri  locum  thesauri  abscon- 
diti  quod  veteres  discreti  omise- 
runt.  .  .  ." 

^  Ibid.,  "Messehala  autem  Indo- 
rum  in  iudiciis  solertissimus 
dicit.  ..." 

^  Epitome,  III,  xii,  "...  in 
quaestione  autem  quis  victurus 
astrologi   discordati  sunt.  .  .  ." 

*  Epitome,  II,  x,  "Sed  expertum 
est  in  nativitatibus  multis  hoc 
abrogari  etiam  cum  omnes  rali- 
ones  praedictae  simul  convenerint 
cuius  rei  meminimus  ne  in  Hbris 
inveniendo  fidem  daremus." 

"The  passage  just  quoted  in  the 
preceding  note  continues,  "Porro 
Ptolemaeus  (licit  .  .  .  sed  experti 
sumus  multoties  hoc  non  recipi." 
See  also  the  following  chapter  of 
the  Epitome,  II,  xi. 

"Epitome,  II,  xxii,  ".  .  .  et  est 
ratio  experimentata  haec.  .  .  ." 

'  See  III,  xii,  where,  after  stat- 
ing the  discordant  views  of  as- 
trologers he  says,  "Hanc  vero 
postremam  rationem  experimen- 
tis  caeteris  preponimus." 

"  Ed.  Ludwig  Baur,  in  Bcitriige, 
IV,  2-2,,  Miinster,  1903,  pp.  1-144 
text ;  pp.  145-408  '"Uiitersuchung." 
Another  work  by  Gundissalinus 
on  the  immortality  of  the  soul 
was  published  in  the  same  series 
by  G.  F.  von  Hertling,  1897. 

Baur  unfortunately  failed  to 
note  the  existence  of  the  Dc 
divisione  philosophiae  in  two 
13th  century  MSS  at  the  British 
Museum  in  the  Sloane  collection, 
nor  docs  Scott's  Index  catalogue 
of  the  Sloane  MSS  mention  Gun- 
dissalinus as  their  author. 

Sloane  2946,  13th  century,  fols. 



a  treatise  which  owes  much  to  the  Turkoman  Al-Farabi 

(Muh.  b.  Muh.  b.  Tarchan  b.  Uzlag,  Abu  Nasr,  el-Farabi). 

If  Baur  is  right  in  thinking  that  Gundissahnus  made  use  of 

translations  by  Gerard  of  Cremona,  1114-1187,  in  the  De 

divisione  philosophiae,^  it  would  appear  to  be  a  later  work 

than  his  translating  for  Archbishop  Raymond,  11 30- 11 50, 

which  perhaps  began  as  early  as  1133.^ 

In  the  classification  and  description  of  the  sciences  which    Place  of 

make  up  the  bulk  of  the  De  divisione  philosophiae  Gundis-   [he^lassi- 

salinus  gives  a  certain  place  to  the  occult  arts.     At  the  be-  fication 

r    1     1      1     •    •  1  •  ,         J    of  the 

gmnmg  Of  the  book,  it  is  true,  the  magic  arts  are  not  classed   sciences. 

among  useful  things  of  the  spirit  like  the  virtues  and  true 

sciences  (honestae  scientiae).     Neither,  however,  are  they 

grouped  with  pride,  avarice,  and  vain  glory  as  harmful  vices, 

but  are  merely  classed  along  with  worldly  honors  as  van- 

209-16,  "de  philosophia  .  .  .  auc- 
tore  Isaaco  philosopho."  But  the 
Incipit,  "Felix  prior  aetas  qui 
(.quae)  tot  sapientes  .  .  ."  is  that 
of  Gundissalinus'  treatise.  The 
erroneous  ascription  to  Isaac  is 
probably  owing  to  the  fact  that 
the  treatise  just  preceding,  at  fols. 
205-208V,  is  a  translation  of  a 
medical  work  by  Isaac.  This  MS 
is  mutilated  towards  the  close  so 
that  the  leaves  containing  our 
text  have  the  upper  right  hand 
corner  torn  off,  thus  removing 
nearly  one-sixth  of  the  text.  The 
colophon  reads,  "Explicit  hoc 
opus  a  domino  Gundissalini  apud 
Tholetum  editum,  sdens  (succe- 
dens?)  de  assignanda  causa  ex 
qua  orte  sunt  scientie  philosophic 
et  ordo  eorum  et  disciplina." 
Similarly  in  Baur's  text  the  De 
divisione  philosophiae  at  pp.  1-142 
is  followed  at  pp.  142-44  by 
Alfarabi's  "Epistola  de  assig- 
nanda causa  ex  qua  orte  sunt 
scientie  philosophic  et  ordo  earum 
in  disciplina." 

Sloane  2461,  late  13th  century, 
fols.  i-38r,  contains  the  De 
divisione  philosophiae  under  the 
caption,  Compendium  scientianim, 
without  indication  of  the  author. 
It    also    is    immediately    followed 

at  fols.  38v-40r  by  De  unitate, 
which  Baur  found  in  another  MS 
at  the  close  of  Gundissalinus'  De 
divisione  philosophiae,  and  in  a 
third  MS  before  the  above  men- 
tioned letter  of  Alfarabi. 

A  MS  now  lost  is,  Library  of 
St.  Augustine's  Abbey,  Canter- 
bury, 1175,  Gundisalvus  de  ortu  et 
divisione  scientiarum. 

Cotton  Vespasian  B-X,  fols.  24- 
27,  Alpharabius  de  divisione  om- 
nium scientiarum,  is  not  the  trea- 
tise of  Gundissalinus,  as  I  was  at 
first  inclined  to  suspect  that  it 
might  turn  out  to  be  upon  exam- 

Alfarabi's  De  scientiis  was  pub- 
lished in  his  Opera  omnia  by 
Camerarius  at  Paris  in  1638  from 
a  MS  which  the  preface  repre- 
sented as  a  recent  discovery. 
Baur,  p.  viii,  states  that  this  text 
differs  considerably  from  the 
Latin  version  by  Gerard  of  Cre- 
mona, but  that  the  borrowings  of 
Gundissalinus  from  Alfarabi  and 
the  citations  in  Vincent  of  Beau- 
vais'  Speculum  doctrinale  agree 
with  this  1638  text  rather  than 
with  Gerard's. 

'Baur  (1903),  p.  163. 

'Karpinski  (1915),  p.  23. 



De  ortu 

ities.^  "Nigromancy  according  to  physics,"  however,  is  later 
hsted  as  one  of  eight  sub-divisions  of  natural  science  to- 
gether with  alchemy,  medicine,  agriculture,  navigation,  the 
science  of  mirrors,  and  the  sciences  of  images  and  of  judg- 
ments.^ Gundissalinus  was  innocent,  however,  of  any  de- 
tailed knowledge  of  necromancy  or  indeed  of  any  of  the 
other  sub-divisions  except  medicine.  He  explains  that  he 
has  not  yet  advanced  as  far  as  these  subjects  in  his  studies.^ 
He  is  manifestly  simply  copying  an  Arabic  classification, 
probably  from  Al-Farabi 's  De  ortu  scientiarum,  and  one  of 
which  we  find  similar  traces  in  other  medieval  Christian 

This  little  treatise  on  The  Rise  of  the  Sciences  by  Al- 
Farabi,  although  it  occupies  only  a  leaf  or  two  in  the  manu- 
scripts and  has  only  recently  been  printed,^  is  a  rather  im- 
portant one  to  note,  as  other  of  its  statements  than  its  eight 
sub-divisions  of  natural  science  seem  to  be  paralleled  in 
medieval  Latin  writers.  There  seems,  for  instance,  a  re- 
semblance between  its  attitude  towards  the  sciences  and 
classification  of  them  and  that  of  Roger  Bacon  in  the  Opiis 
Maius.^  Al-Farabi  believes  in  God  the  Creator,  as  his  open- 
ing words  show,  and  he  regards  "divine  science"  as  the  end 
and  perfection  of  the  other  sciences;  "and  beyond  it  inves- 
tigation does  not  go,  for  it  is  itself  the  goal  to  which  all 
inquiry  tends."  '^  At  the  same  time  Al-Farabi  emphasizes 
the  importance  of  natural  science,  adding  its  eight  parts  to 
the  four  divisions  of  the  quadriiniim — arithmetic,  geometry, 
astrology,  and  music,  and  saying,  "Moreover,  this  last  (i.  e. 
natural)  science  is  greater  and  broader  than  any  of  those 

*  Baur,  pp.  4-5. 
^  Baur,  p.  20. 

*  Baur,   p.   89. 

*  See  Daniel  Morley  on  the 
eight  parts  of  astrology  in  chap- 
ter 42  below,  p.  177. 

'  I  have  read  it  in  two  MSS  at 
Paris,  where,  however,  the  text 
seems  faulty:  BN  6298,  14th  cen- 
tury, fols.  i6or-i6iv,  and  BN 
14700,  fols.  328V-330V.  It  opens, 
"Scias    nihil    esse    nisi    substantia 

et  accidens  et  creatorem  sub- 
stantie  et  accidentis  in  secula." 
Printed  in  Beitrage.  xix. 

°  For  Bacon's  views  see  below, 
chapter  61. 

'BN  6298,  fol.  169V;  BN  14700. 
fol.  330r.  "Scientia  divina  que 
est  finis  scientiarum  et  perfectio 
earum.  Et  non  restat  post  illam 
ulla  inquisitio.  Ipsa  enim  est  finis 
ad  quern  tendit  omnis  inquisitio  et 
in  ea  quiescit." 



sciences  and  disciplines  (or,  than  any  of  those  discipHnary 
sciences)."  We  need  a  science,  he  says  in  effect,  which 
deals  inclusively  with  changes  in  nature,  showing  how  they 
are  brought  about  and  their  causes  and  enabling  us  to  repel 
their  harmful  action  when  we  wish  or  to  augment  them, — 
a  science  of  action  and  passion.^  This  suggestion  of  ap- 
plied science  and  of  a  connection  between  it  and  magic  also 
reminds  one  of  Roger  Bacon,  as  does  Al-Farabi's  statement 
later  that  the  beginning  of  all  sciences  is  the  science  of 

Both  for  Al-Farabi  and  Gundissalinus  the  sciences  of 
images  and  judgments  were  undoubtedly  astrological.  Gun- 
dissalinus himself  believes  that  the  spiritual  virtue  of  the 
celestial  bodies  is  the  efficient  cause,  ordained  by  the  Cre- 
ator, of  generation,  corruption,  and  other  natural  operations 
in  this  corporeal  world.  He  defines  astrologia  as  we  would 
astronomy,  while  he  explains  that  astronomia  is  the  science 
of  answering  questions  from  the  position  of  the  planets  and 
signs.  There  are  many  such  sciences, — geomancy,  hydro- 
mancy,  aeromancy,  pyromancy,  chiromancy,  and  augury; 
but  astronomy  is  superior  to  the  rest  because  it  predicts  what 
will  befall  upon  earth  from  the  dispositions  of  the  heavenly 
bodies.  Gundissalinus  also  repeats  Isidore's  distinction  be- 
tween astronomia  and  astrologia,  and  between  the  natural 
and  superstitious  varieties  of  "astronomy."  ^ 

At  this  point  it  may  be  well  to  note  briefly  a  later  work 
with  a  very  similar  title  to  that  of  Gundissalinus,  namely, 
the  De  ortu  sive  dknsione  scientiarum  of  Robert  Kilwardby,^ 

*  "Et  imo  opus  erat  (fuit)  sci- 
entia  que  hoc  totum  ostendit  sci- 
licet per  quam  veniremus  ad  huius- 
modi  permutationis  scientiam 
(perveniremus  ad  scientiam  huius 
permutationis)  qualiter  fiat  et  que 
sint  eius  actiones  nocentes  (occa- 
siones  et  cause  et  quomodo  posse- 
mus  removere  has  occasiones  no- 
centes) cum  vellemus  repellere  et 
luomodo  cum  vellemus  possemus 
eas  augere.  Hec  igitur  scientia 
fuit  scientia  de  naturis  que  est 
scientia    de    actione    et    passione." 

The  passages  in  parentheses  are 
the  variant  readings  in  one  of  the 
two  MSS. 

'  For  the  passages  cited  in  this 
paragraph  see  Baur,  6,  115,  119- 

•Baur,  who  lists  MSS  of  the 
work  at  p.  368  and  presents  an 
analysis  of  it  at  pp.  369-75.  gives 
the  title  as  Dc  ortu  et  divisione 
philosophiac,  but  the  two  13th 
century  MSS  at  Oxford,  Balliol 
3  and  Merton  261,  seem  to  prefer 
the  form  which  I  have  given.     I 

linus on 


De  ortu 
sive  divisi- 
one  scien- 



archbishop  of  Canterbury  from  1272  to  1279.  The  work 
borrows  a  great  deal  from  Isidore,  Hugh  of  St.  Victor,  and 
GundissaHnus.  One  of  its  more  original  passages  is  that  in 
which  Kilwardby  suggests  an  alteration  in  Hugh's  division 
of  the  mechanical  arts,  omitting  theatrical  performances  as 
more  suited  to  Gentiles  than  Catholics,  and  arranging  the 
mechanical  arts  in  a  trivium  consisting  of  earth-culture, 
food-science,  and  medicine,  and  a  qiiadrizniini  made  up  of 
costuming,  armor-making,  architecture,  and  business- 
courses  (mercatura) ,  after  the  analogy  of  the  seven  liberal 
arts.^  Kilwardby,  as  has  been  already  noted  elsewhere,  re- 
peats Hugh's  classification  of  the  magic  arts.- 
Plato  of  Next  in  importance  to  John  of  Spain  as  a  translator  of 

Arabic  astrology  in  the  first  half  of  the  twelfth  century 
should  probably  be  ranked  Plato  of  Tivoli.  They  seem  to 
have  worked  independently  and  sometimes  to  have  made 
distinct  translations  of  the  same  work,  as  in  the  case  of  the 
Nafizntics  of  Albohali  and  the  Epistle  of  Messahala.  On 
the  whole,  Plato's  translations  ^  would  appear  slightly  to 
antedate  John's.  Haskins  has  shown,  however,  that  the  date 
1 1 16,  hitherto  assigned  for  Plato's  translation  of  the  Liber 
emhadoruin  of  Savasorda,  should  be  1145.^  But  Plato's 
translation  of  Albohali  is  dated  1136,  while  John's  was  not 
made  until  1153.^  In  1136  is  also  dated  Plato's  translation 
of  the  astrological  work  of  Almansor  in  the  form  of  one 
hundred  and  fifty  or  so  brief  aphorisms,  judgments,  propo- 
sitions, or  capitula,  which  later  appeared  repeatedly  in  print. 
Two  years  later  he  turned  the  famous  Qiiadripartitum  of 
Ptolemy  into  Latin.  His  other  translations  include  Albu- 
casis  (Abu'l-Qasim  Chalaf  b.  'Abbas  el-Zahrawi)  on  the 
astrolabe,  Haly  ('All  b.  Ridwan  b.  'Ali  b.  Ga'far,  Abu'l- 

have  looked  through  the  text  in  ^  Cap.  40. 

Balliol    3,    a    beautifully    written  '  Cap.  67. 

MS,  but.  in  view  of  Kilwardby's  ^Listed      by      Steinschneider 

date,    scarcely    of    the    early    13th  (1905),  pp.  62-6. 

century,  as  it  is  described  in  the  *  C.      H.      Haskins,     in      EHR 

catalogue.     Haureau  regarded  the  (191 1).  26,  491  note. 

work     as     clear,     accurate,     and  °  See   page   75    of   this   chapter, 

worth  printing.  note  2, 



Hasan)   on  nativities,  and  a  geomancy.     Most  of  Plato's 
translations  were  produced  at  Barcelona. 

In  a  manuscript  at  the  British  Museum  ^  one  of  Plato  of  Robert  of 
Tivoli's  translations  is  immediately  preceded  in  the  same 
large  clear  hand,  different  from  the  smaller  and  later  writ- 
ing employed  in  the  remainder  of  the  manuscript,  by  a  trans- 
lation of  the  Judgments  of  the  astrologer  Alkindi  by  Robert 
of  Chester,-  with  an  introduction  to  "my  Hermann,"  whom 
Robert  commends  highly  as  an  astronomer.  A  letter  written 
in  1 143  by  Peter  the  Venerable  to  St.  Bernard  tells  how  in 
1 141  he  had  induced  two  "acute  and  well  trained  scholars," 
who  were  then  residing  in  Spain  near  the  river  Ebro,  to 
turn  for  a  time  from  the  arts  of  astrology  which  they  had 
been  studying  there,  and  to  translate  the  Koran.  These 
two  translators  were  the  friends  whom  we  have  just  men- 
tioned, Hermann  of  Dalmatia  and  Robert  of  Chester.  Rob- 
ert, too,  tells  us  in  the  prefatory  letter  to  the  translation  of 
the  Koran,  completed  in  1143,  that  this  piece  of  work  was 
"a  digression  from  his  principal  studies  of  astronomy  and 
geometry."  Besides  such;  mathematical  treatises  as  his 
translations  of  the  Indicia  of  Alkindi,  the  Algebra  of  Al- 
Khowarizmi,  a  treatise  on  the  astrolabe  ascribed  to  Ptolemy, 
and  several  sets  of  astronomical  tables,  including  a  revision 
or  rearrangement  of  Adelard  of  Bath's  translation  of  the 
Tables  of  Al-Khowarizmi,  Robert  on  February  11,  1144, 
translated  a  treatise  on  alchemy  which  Morienus  Romanus, 
a  monk  of  Jerusalem,  was  supposed  to  have  written  for 
"Calid,  king  of  Egypt,"  or  Prince  Khalid  ibn  Jazid,  a 
Mohammedan  pretender  and  patron  of  learning  at  Alex- 
andria. Of  it  we  shall  treat  more  fully  in  another  chapter. 
About  1 1 50  we  seem  to  find  Robert  returned  to  his  native 
England  and  writing  at  London.^ 

*  Cotton,  Appendix  VI.  C.  H.  Haskins,  The  Reception  of 

*  For  the  biography  and  bibliog-  Arabic  Science  in  England,  EHR 
raphy   of    Robert   of    Chester   see  30     (1915),    62-5;    Steinschneider 
L.  C.  Karpinski,  Robert  of  Ches-  (1905),  pp.  67-73. 
ter's    Latin     Translation    of    the  *  Karpinski    (1915),   pp.   26,   29- 
Algebra  of  Al-Khowarizmi,  New  30. 
York,    1915,   especially   pp.   26-32; 



the  Dal- 

Hermann  the  Dalmatian,  or  twelfth  century  translator, 
must  be  distinguished  on  the  one  hand  from  Hermann  the 
Lame  who  wrote  on  the  astrolabe,^  and  apparently  on  the 
other  hand  from  Hermann  the  German  who  translated  Aver- 
roes  and  Aristotle  in  the  thirteenth  century.^  To  the  twelfth 
century  translator  we  may  ascribe  such  works  as  a  treatise 
on  rains,^  a  brief  glossary  of  Arabic  astronomical  terms,* 
and  Latin  versions  of  the  Planisphere  of  Ptolemy,^  of  the  as- 
trological Fatidica  of  Zahel,®  and  of  the  Introduction  to 

^  See  above,  chapter  30,  I,  702-3. 
Besides  the  articles  of  Clerval 
and  Haskins  there  mentioned  we 
may  note  A.  A.  Bjornbo,  Her- 
mannus  Dalmata  als  Uebersetzef 
astronomischer  Arbeiten,  in  Bibli- 
otheca  Mathematica,  VI  (1903), 
third  series,  pp.   130-3. 

*  Steinschneider  (1905),  pp.  32- 
5.  He  says,  "Hermannus  Ale- 
mannus,  oder  Teutonicus,  Ger- 
manicus,  soil  um  1240-1260 
Lehrer  des  Roger  Bacon  in 
Toledo  ( ?)  gewesen  sein,"  but  I 
do  not  know  where  he  gets  the 
notion  that  Hermann  was  Roger's 
teacher.  The  following  works 
ascribed  to  Hermannus  Theutoni- 
cus  by  Denifle  (1886),  p.  231, — 
and  not  mentioned  by  Steinschnei- 
der — seem  to  indicate  another 
person  of  that  name:  "(41)  fr. 
Hermannus  Theutonicus  de  Cer- 
wist  (Zerbstl,  scripsit  postillam 
super  caiitica ;  (50)  fr.  Herman- 
nus Theutonicus  scripsit  librum 
de  ascensu  cordis.  Item  super 
Cantica.  Item  de  arte  precandi." 
In  Vienna  2507,  13th  century,  fols. 
85-123,  an  Ars  dictandi  is  at- 
tributed to  "Magistri  Heremanni." 

On  the  part  taken  by  Herman- 
nus Alemannus  in  the  translation 
of  Aristotle  in  the  thirteenth 
century  see  further  Grabmann 
(1916),  pp.  208-12,  217-22,  etc., 
where  translations  of  his  are  con- 
nected with  the  dates  1240  and 

^ Clare  College  15  (Kk.  4.  2), 
c.  1280  A.  D.,  fols.  i-2r,  Her- 
mannus, liber  imbrium,  "Cum 
multa  et  varia  de  imbrium  cog- 
nicione    preccpta    Indorum    tradat 

auctoritas  .../...  plerumque 
etiam  imbres  occurrunt  set  steri- 
les"  lafar  on  rains  immediately 

Vienna  2436,  14th  century,  fols. 
134V-136V,  "Cum  multa  et  varia 
.../...  eciam  ymbres  occur- 
rant  sed  mediocres.  Finitur  Her- 
manni  liber  de  ymbribus  et  plu- 

Dijon  1045,  15th  century,  fols. 
187-91  (following  Hermann's 
translation  of  Albumasar),  "de 
pluviis  ab  Hermano  (de)  Kanto 
(?)  a  judico  in  latinum  trans- 
latus.  Cum  multa  et  varia  de 
nubium  cognicione  .../...  oc- 
currunt sed  steriles." 

*In  CUL  2022  (Kk.  IV.  7), 
15th  century,  fol.  116,  however, 
such  a  short  glossary  preceding 
prognostications  of  famine  is  said 
to  be  "secundum  Hermannum 

"Printed  Basel,  1536;  and  Ven- 
ice, 1558.  J.  L.  Heiberg,  Claudii 
Ptolcmaei  Opera  quae  exstant 
omnia,  II,  pp.  clxxxiii-vi ;  Kar- 
pinski  (1915),  p.  32;  Haskins 
(i9i5)»  P-  62;  Suter  (1914),  p.  ix. 

'  Or  Sahl  ben  Bisr  ben  Hani, 
Abu  'Otman.  Steinschneider 
(1905),  p.  34,  and  (1906)  pp.  54-5, 
ascribes  the  translation  to  Her- 
mann the  Dalmatian ;  see,  too, 
CUL  2022,  15th  century,  fols. 
I02r-ii5v,  pronostica  Zahel  Iben 
Bixir,  Hermanni  secundi  trans- 
latio.  But  in  Digby  114,  14th 
century,  fols.  176-99,  "Explicit 
fetidica  Zael  Benbinxeir  Caldei. 
Translacio  hec  mam.  Gi.  astrono- 
mie  libri  anno  Domini  1138,  3 
kal.    Octobris   translatus    est." 



Astronomy  in  eight  books  of  the  noted  Arabic  astrologer 
Albumasar,  a  work  often  entitled  Searching  of  the  Heart  or 
Of  Things  Occult}  Hermann  dedicated  it  to  Robert  of 
Chester,  whom  he  also  mentions  in  the  preface  of  his  trans- 
lation of  the  Planisphere,"  and  in  his  chief  work,  the  De 
essentiis,  a  cosmology  which  he  finished  at  Beziers  in  the 
latter  part  of  the  same  year  1143.^ 

Hugo  Sanctelliensis  or  Hugh  of  Santalla  ^  is  another 
translator  of  the  first  half  of  the  twelfth  century  in  the 
Spanish  peninsula  who  appears  to  have  worked  independently 
of  the  foregoing  men,  since  he  to  some  extent  translated 
the  same  works,  for  instance,  the  Centiloquium  ascribed  to 
Ptolemy,  Latin  versions  of  which  have  also  been  credited  to 
Plato  of  Tivoli  and  John  of  Seville.  Hugh's  translations 
are  undated  but  at  least  some  of  them  may  have  antedated 
those  of  the  men  already  mentioned,^   since  Haskins  has 

*  Printed  at  Augsburg  in  1489 
and  in  other  editions ;  it  opens, 
"Astronomic  iudiciorum  omnium 
bispertita  est  via.  .  .  ." 

*Suter  (1914),  pp.  xiii,  xviii, 
interprets  Hermann's  words, 
"Quem  locum  a  Ptolemaeo  minus 
diligenter  perspectum  cum  Alba- 
tene  miratur  et  Alchoarismus, 
quorum  hunc  quidam  opera  nos- 
tra Latium  habet,  illius  vero 
commodissima  translatio  Roberti 
mei  industria  Latinae  orationis 
thesaurum  accumulat,"  to  mean 
that  Robert  translated  Al-Battani, 
but  in  view  of  Robert's  known 
translations  of  Al-Khowarizmi,  I 
should  translate  htin-c  as  "former" 
in  this  case  and  regard  Hermann 
as  the  translator  of  Al-Battani. 

'  Professor  Haskins  wrote  me 
on  July  26,  1921,  "The  De  essen- 
tiis is  an  interesting  work  of 
cosmology;  when  I  am  able  to 
work  it  over  more  carefully  I 
shall  print  the  article  on  Her- 
mann, now  long  overdue." 

*The  best  treatment  of  Hugh 
is,  C.  H.  Haskins,  "The  Transla- 
tions of  Hugo  Sanctelliensis,"  in 
The  Romanic  Review,  II  (1911), 
1-15,  where  attention  is  called  to 
translations   not   noted   by   Stein- 

schneider,  and  the  prefaces  of 
seven  extant  translations  are 

°  I  cannot,  however,  agree  with 
Professor  Haskins  (p.  10),  that 
"From  certain  phrases  in  the 
preface"  (of  Hugh's  translation 
of  the  Liber  Aristotilis  de  25^  in- 
doruni  voluminibiis)  "it  would 
seem  that,  while  Hugo  has  been 
for  some  time  a  devotee  of 
Arabian  science,  he  has  only  re- 
cently (nunc)  and  comparatively 
late  in  the  day  (serus  ac  indignus 
minister)  entered  the  bishop's 
service."  It  seems  to  me  that  the 
last  phrase  should  read  servus  ac 
indignus  minister,  for  Hugh  had 
already  translated  at  least  one 
other  work  for  the  bishop  before 
this  one  on  the  255  books  of  the 
Indians,  and  in  the  present  pref- 
ace he  alludes  to  many  previous 
discussions  between  them  and  to 
the  bishop's  continually  exhorting 
him  to  publish,  so  that  one  would 
infer  that  they  had  been  associ- 
ated for  some  time  past.  Since 
writing  this  I  have  learned  both 
from  Mr.  H.  H.  E.  Craster  of  the 
Bodleian  and  from  Professor 
Haskins  himself  that  the  reading 
in  the  MS  (Digby  159,  fol.  iv)  is 

Hugh  of 



identified  Hugh's  patron,  "my  lord,  Bishop  Michael,"  with 
the  holder  of  the  see  of  Tarazona  from  1119  to  11 51. 
Hugh's  nine  known  translations  are  concerned  with  works 
of  astronomy,  astrology,  and  divination.  Those  on  astrol- 
ogy include,  besides  the  Centiloquium  already  mentioned, 
Albumasar's  Book  of  Rains,  Messahala  on  nativities,  and  a 
Book  of  Aristotle  from  255  volumes  of  the  Indians,  of 
which  we  shall  have  more  to  say  in  the  chapter  on  the 
Pseudo-Aristotle.  The  works  on  other  forms  of  divination 
are  a  geomancy  ^  and  De  spatula,  a  treatise  on  divination 
from  the  shoulder-blades  of  animals.  In  the  preface  to  the 
geomancy  he  promises  to  treat  next  of  hydromancy  but  says 
that  he  has  failed  to  find  books  of  aeromancy  or  pyromancy.^ 
Although,  as  has  been  said,  Hugh  seems  to  have  labored  in- 
dependently of  the  other  translators  and  in  a  somewhat  out- 
of-the-way  town,  he  nevertheless  seems  to  have  felt  himself 
in  touch  with  the  learning  of  his  time.  In  his  various  pref- 
aces, like  William  of  Conches,  he  speaks  of  "moderns"  as 
well  as  the  arcana  of  the  ancients,^  and  his  patron  is  con- 

"seruus"  or  servus,  as  I  have  it 
in  the  rough  notes  I  took  on  the 
treatise  in  August,  1919. 

*The  following  MSS  may  be 
noted  in  addition  to  those  (BN 
7453  and  Florence,  Laur.  II-85, 
Plut.  30,  c.  29)  listed  by  Stein- 
schneider  (1905),  pp.  35-6,  and 
Haskins   (19").  P-   U- 

CU  Magdalene  27,  late  14th  cen- 
tury, fols.  1-66,  "Ludus  phi- 
losophorum  qui  apellatur  filius 
( ?)  Astronomie.  Rerum  opifex 
deus  qui  sine  exemplo  nova  con- 
didit  universa  .  .  .  Ego  sanctel- 
liensis  geomantie  interpretacio- 
nem  (instead  of  inscriptionem  as 
given  by  Haskins  from  BN  7453) 
ingredior  et  tibi  mi  domine  tiraso- 
nensis  antistes  .  .  ."  James  adds, 
"On  a  Latin  version  of  a  tract  of 
Apollonius,  by  Hugo  Sanctelliensis 
in  MS  Bib.  Nat.  Lat.  14951,  see  F. 
Nau  in  Rcvuc  de  I'Oricnt  Latin, 
1908,"  but  in  a  note  of  21  June 
1921  Dr.  James  informs  me  that 
one  should  read  Orient  Chretien 
in  place  of  Orient  Latin. 

Vienna  5508,  14th  century,  fols. 
182-200,  Hugo  Sacelliensis  sive 
Saxalicnsis,  Geomantia,  "Rerum 
opifex  deus  .../...  sive  mun- 
dus  facie." 

Vienna  5327,  15th  century,  fols. 
59r-6ov,  Operis  de  geomantia  ad 
Tirasconensem  anstitem  prologus 
et  caput  primum. 

Haskins  (1911),  p.  13,  note  45, 
notes  that  the  Laurentian  MS  has 
a  different  Incioit  from  BN  7453, 
but  CU  Magdalene  27  and  Vienna 
5508  agree  with  the  latter  Incipit. 

*  Haskins,   p.    14. 

^  In  the  preface  to  his  trans- 
lation of  el-Biruni's  commentary 
on  al-Fargani  he  says,  "Lest 
therefore,  completely  intent  upon 
the  footprints  of  the  ancients,  I 
seem  to  dissent  from  the  moderns 
utterly  .  .  .",  {Ne  itaque  anti- 
quorum  vestigiis  penitus  insist  ens 
a  inodernis  prorsus  videar  dissen- 
tire, — Haskins.  p.  8).  In  the 
preface  to  the  Pseudo-Aristotle 
on  the  255  books  of  the  Indians 
he   speaks  of   Bishop   Michael   as 



tinually  urging  him  to  write  not  only  what  he  has  gathered 
from  the  books  of  the  ancients  but  what  he  has  learned  by 
experiment.^  In  the  preface  to  his  translation  of  Albuma- 
sar's  Book  of  Rains  he  tells  Bishop  Michael  that  "what  the 
modern  astrologers  of  the  Gauls  most  bemoan  their  lack  of, 
your  benignity  may  bestow  upon  posterity,"  ^  and  the  dis- 
tribution of  manuscripts  of  his  translations  in  European 
libraries  indicates  that  they  were  widely  influential. 

The  best  source  for  the  life  and  works  of  Gerard  of    Acontem- 
Cremona  ^  (1114-1187)  is  a  memorandum  attached  by  his    nfen^g^ial 
friends  to  what  was  presumably  his  last  work,  a  translation  ot 
of  the  Tegni  of  Galen  with  the  commentary  of  Haly,  in  imi-    Cremona. 
tation  of  Galen  who  in  old  age  was  induced  to  draw  up  a 
list  of  his  own  works.     Gerard,  however,  is  already  dead 
when  his  associates  write,  having  worked  right  up  to  life's 
close  and  passed  away  in  1187  at  the  age  of  seventy-three. 
They  state  that  from  the  very  cradle  he  was  educated  in  the 
lap  of  philosophy,  and  that  he  learned  all  he  could  in  every 
department  of  it  studied  among  the  Latins.     Then,  moved 
by  his  passion  for  the  Almagest,  which  he  found  nowhere 
among  the  Latins,  he  came  to  Toledo.    There,  beholding  the 

exalted  above  moderns  or  con- 
temporaries {ultra  modernos  vel 
coequevos, — Haskins,  10)  in  fame 
and  love  of  learning,  and  later  of 
"what  can  be  fully  explained  by 
none  of  the  moderns"  {quod  a 
nulla  modernorum  plenissime  va- 
let explicari — Haskins,  p.  11).  In 
the  preface  to  Albumasar's  Book 
of  Rains  occurs  the  allusion  to 
modern  astrologers  of  the  Gauls 
given   below   in  the  text. 

^  Haskins,  p.  10. 

^  Ibid.,  p.  12,  ".  .  .  tue  offero 
dignitati,  ut  quod  potissimum  sibi 
deesse  moderni  deflent  astrologi 
gallorum  posteritati  tua  benignitas 

'  Baldassare  Boncompagni,  Delia 
Vita  e  delle  Operc  di  Gherardo 
Cremonesc  traduttore  del  secolo 
djiodccimo  e  di  Gherardo  da  Sab- 
bionetta  Astronomo  del  secolo 
iecimoterco,    Roma,    1851. 

Giovanni  Brambilla,  Monografie 
di  due  illustri  Cremonesi,  Gherar- 
do Toletano  e  Gherardo  Patulo, 
Crevwna,  1894.  It  largely  re- 
peats Boncompagni  without  ac- 

K.  Sudhoff,  Die  kurse  Vita  und 
das  Vcrzeichnis  der  Arbeiten  Ger- 
hards  von  Creinona,  von  seinen 
Schulern  und  Studicngenossen 
kurs  nach  dem  Tode  des  Meisters 
(1187)  cu  Toledo  verabfasst,  in 
Archiv  f.  Gesch.  d.  Medizin, 
herausg  v.  d.  Puschmann-Stif- 
tung  an  der  Universitdt  Leipzig, 
VIII,  73,   Nov.,    1914. 

V.  Rose,  in  Hermes,  VIII 
(1874),   334. 

A.  A.  Bjornbo,  Alkindi,  Tideus 
und  Pseudo-Euclid,  191 1  (Ab- 
handl.  z.  Gesch.  d.  Math.  Wiss. 
XXVI,   3),    127,    137,    150,   etc. 

Steinschneider    (1905),   16-32. 



by  a  pupil 
of  his  as- 

abundance  of  books  in  every  field  in  Arabic  and  the  poverty 
of  the  Latins  in  this  respect,  he  devoted  his  Hfe  to  the  labor 
of  translation,  scorning  the  desires  of  the  flesh,  although  he 
was  rich  in  worldly  goods,  and  adhering  to  things  of  the 
spirit  alone.  He  toiled  for  the  advantage  of  all  both  pres- 
ent and  future,  not  unmindful  of  the  injunction  of  Ptolemy 
to  work  good  increasingly  as  you  near  your  end.  Now, 
that  his  name  may  not  be  hidden  in  silence  and  darkness, 
and  that  no  alien  name  may  be  inscribed  by  presumptuous 
thievery  in  his  translations,  the  more  so  since  he  (like  Galen) 
never  signed  his  own  name  to  any  of  them,  they  have  drawn 
up  a  list  of  all  the  works  translated  by  him  whether  in  dialec- 
tic or  geometry,  in  "astrology"  or  philosophy,  in  medicine  or 
in  the  other  sciences.^ 

Another  contemporary  picture  of  Gerard's  activity  at 
Toledo  is  provided  us  by  the  Englishman,  Daniel  of  Morley, 
or  de  Merlai,  who  went  to  Spain  to  study  the  sciences  of 
the  quadrivium.  He  tells  how  Gerard  of  Toledo  {Gerardus 
tholetanus) ,  interpreting  the  Almagest  in  Latin  with  the  aid 
of   Galippus,   the   Mozarab,"   asserted  that  various    future 

^Boncompagni  (1851),  3-4,  from 
Vatican  2392,  fols.  97v-98r.  I 
have,  except  for  changing  the  or- 
der, practically  translated  the 
Latin  text  of  the  Vita,  which  with 
some  omissions  is  as  follows: 
"...  Ne  igitur  magister  gerardus 
cremonensis  sub  taciturnitatis 
tenebris  lateat  .  .  .  ne  per  pre- 
sumptuosam  rapinam  libris  ab 
ipso  translatis  titulus  infigatur 
alienus  presertim  cum  nulli  eorum 
nomen  suum  iscripsisset,  cuncta 
opera  ab  eodem  translata  tarn  de 
dyalectica  quam  de  geometria, 
tam  de  astrologia  quam  de  phy- 
losophya,  tam  etiam  de  physica 
quam  de  aliis  scientiis,  in  fine 
huius  tegni  novissime  ab  eo 
translati,  imitando  Galenum  de 
commemoratione  suorum  libronim 
in  fine  eiusdem  per  socios  ipsius 
diligentissime  fuerint  connume- 
rata.  ...  Is  etiam  cum  bonis 
floreret  temporalibus.  .  .  .  Carnis 
desideriis  inimicando  solis  spiritu- 
alibus  adhaerebat.     Cunctis  etiam 

presentibus  atque  futuris  prodesse 
laborabat  non  immemor  illius 
ptolomei,  cum  fini  appropinquas, 
bonum  cum  augmento  operare. 
Et  cum  ab  istis  infantie  cunabulis 
in  gremiis  philosophiae  educatus 
esset,  et  ad  cuiuslibet  partis  ipsius 
notitiam  secundum  latinorum 
studium  pervenisset,  amore  tamen 
almagesti  quern  apud  latinos  mi- 
nime  reperiit  tolectum  perexit.  Ubi 
Hbrorum  cuiuslibet  facultatis  ha- 
bundantiam  in  arabico  cernens  et 
latinorum  penurie  de  ipsis  quam 
novcrit    miserans  .  .  ."    etc. 

Other  less  complete  lists  of 
Gerard's  works  are  found  in  the 
following  MSS :  Laon  413 ;  All 
Souls  68,  fol.  109;  Ashmole  357, 
fol.    57. 

'  Arundel  377,  13th  century,  fols. 
88-103,  Philosophia  magistri  dani- 
elis  de  merlai  ad  iohannem  Nor- 
wicenscm  episcopum,  fol.  I03r, 
"qui  galippo  mixtarabe  interpre- 
tante  almagesti  latinavit." 


events  followed  necessarily  from  the  movements  and 
influences  of  the  stars.  Daniel  was  at  first  astounded  by 
this  utterance  and  brought  forward  the  arguments  against 
the  niathematici  or  astrologers  in  the  homily  of  St.  Gregory. 
But  Gerard  answered  them  all  glibly.  It  should  perhaps 
be  added  that  in  another  passage  Daniel  without  mentioning 
Gerard  speaks  of  setting  down  in  Latin  what  he  learned 
concerning  the  universe  in  the  speech  of  Toledo  from  Galip- 
pus,  the  Mozarab.^  Gerard's  translation  of  the  Almagest 
seems  to  have  been  completed  in  1175,^  but  meanwhile  in 
Sicily  an  anonymous  translation  from  the  Greek  had  ap- 
peared, probably  soon  after  1160.  Of  it  we  shall  presently 
have  something  to  say.  Gerard's  version  was,  however,  the 
generally  accepted  one,  as  the  number  of  manuscripts  and 
citations  of  it  show. 

But  to  return  to  the  list  of  Gerard's  translations.  Only  Charac- 
three  of  the  long  list  are  strictly  dialectical,  Aristotle's  Pos-  Gerard's 
terior  Analytics,  the  commentary  of  Themistius  upon  them,  transla- 
and  Alfarabi  on  the  syllogism.  And  only  one  or  two  of  the 
translations  listed  under  the  heading  De  phylosophya  are 
pure  philosophy.^  Most  of  Gerard's  work  is  mathematical 
and  medical,  natural  and  occult  science.  He  translates  Ptol- 
emy and  Euclid;  Archimedes,  Galen  and  Aristotle;  Autoly- 
cus  and  Theodosius ;  and  such  writers  in  Arabic  as  Alkindi, 
Alfarabi,  Albucasis,  Alfraganus,  Messahala,  Thebit,  Ge- 
ber,  Alhazen,  Isaac,  Rasis,  and  Avicenna.  His  mathemati- 
cal translations  include  the  fields  of  algebra  and  perspective 
as  well  as  geometry  and  astronomy.  Of  Aristotle's  natural 
philosophy  the  list  includes  the  Physics,  De  coelo  et  mundo, 
De  generatione  et  corriiptione,  De  meteoris  except  the  fourth 
and  last  book  which  he  could  not  find,*  and  the  first  part  of 

*  Arundel  377,  fol.  89V,  "quod  a  Greek  about  the  middle  of  the 
galippo  mixtarabe  in  linpua  thole-  twelfth  century  by  Aristippus, 
tana  didici  latine  subscribitur."  minister   of    William   the   Bad  of 

"Boncompagni   (i8.=;i)    18,  quot-  Sicily:    see   Singer    (iQi?)  .P-   24; 

ing   Laurent.    Plut.   89,    13th   cen-  V.  Rose,  Die  Liicke  im  Diogenes 

turv.  Laertius  und  der  alte  Uebersetser, 

'Such    as    "Aristotelis    de    ex-  m  Hermes  I  (1866)  376;  Haskins 

positione  bonitatis  pure."  (1920)     p.     605;     F.     H.     Fobes, 

*  It    was    translated    from    the  Medieval   Versions   of  Aristotle's 




religion  in 
the  pref- 
ace to  a 
of  the 
from  the 

the  astrological  De  causis  proprietatttm  et  elementoriim  as- 
cribed to  Aristotle.  Among  his  translations  of  Galen  was 
the  apocryphal  De  secretis,  of  which  we  shall  have  more  to 
say  in  a  later  chapter  on  books  of  experiments.  Three 
treatises  of  alchemy  are  included  in  the  list  of  his  trans- 
lations and  also  a  geomancy,  although  Boncompagni  tries 
to  saddle  the  latter  upon  Gerardus  de  Sabloneto.  Gerard 
is  also  supposed  to  have  translated  some  works  not  men- 
tioned in  this  list  but  ascribed  to  him  in  the  manuscripts. 
One  of  interest  to  us  is  a  work  on  stones  of  the  Pseudo- 

We  must  say  a  word  of  the  anonymous  Sicilian  trans- 
lation of  the  Almagest  which  preceded  that  of  Gerard  of 
Cremona,  because  of  a  defense  in  its  preface  ^  of  natural 
science  against  a  theological  opposition  of  which  the  anony- 
mous translator  appears  to  be  painfully  conscious.  After 
darkly  hinting  that  he  was  prevented  from  speedily  com- 
pleting the  translation  by  "other  secret"  obstacles  ^  as  well 
as  by  the  manifest  fact  that  he  did  not  understand  "the 
science  of  the  stars"  well,^  and  remarking  that  the  artisan 
can  hope  for  nothing  where  the  art  is  in  disrepute,  the  trans- 
lator inveighs  against  those  who  rashly  judge  things  about 
which  they  know  nothing,  and  who,  lest  they  seem  ignorant 
themselves,  call  what  they  do  not  know  useless  and  profane. 
Hence  the  Arabs  say  that  there  is  no  greater  enemy  of  an 
art  than  one  who  is  unacquainted  with  it.  So  far  the  tone 
of  the  preface  reminds  one  strongly  of  those  of  William  of 
Conches.  The  writer  proceeds  to  complain  that  the  opposi- 
tion to  mathematical  studies  has  gone  so  far  that  "the  sci- 
ence of  numbers  and  mensuration  is  thought  entirely  super- 

Meteorology,  in  Classical  Philol- 
ogy X  (1915)  297-314;  Greek  text, 
ed.   Fobes,   Cambridge,   1919. 

*  Ed.  V.  Rose,  in  Zeitschrift  f. 
deutschcs  Alterthum,  XVIII 
(1875)    349-82. 

*  The  preface  was  printed  by 
Haskins  and  Lockwood,  The 
Sicilian  Translators  of  the 
Twelfth     Century,     in     Harvard 

Studies  in  Classical  Philology, 
XXI  (1910)  pp.  99-102,  to  which 
text  the  following  citations  apply. 
Commented  upon  by  J.  L.  Hei- 
berg,  Noch  cinnial  die  mittelal- 
terliche  Ptolemaios-Uebersetsung, 
in  Hermes,  XLVI  (1911)  207- 

'Line  31. 

*  Line  42. 


fluous  and  useless,  while  the  study  of  astronomy  (i.  e.  as- 
trology) is  esteemed  idolatry."  ^  Yet  Remigius  tells  us  that 
Abraham  taught  the  Egyptians  "astrology"  (i.  e.  astron- 
omy), and  the  translator  ironically  adds  that  he  supposes  it 
can  be  shown  from  Moses  and  Daniel  that  God  condemned 
the  science  of  the  stars.  He  then  dilates  on  how  essential  it 
is  to  study  and  understand  the  created  world  before  rising 
to  study  of  the  Creator,  and  waxes  sarcastic  at  the  ex- 
pense of  those  who  study  theology  before  they  know  any- 
thing else  and  think  themselves  able  like  eagles  to  soar  aloft 
at  once  above  the  clouds,  disdaining  earth  and  earthly  things, 
and  to  gaze  unblinded  upon  the  full  sun  :  - — a  passage  some- 
what similar  to  Roger  Bacon's  diatribe  against  the  "boy- 
theologians"  in  the  following  century. 

The  translator,  although  his  own  rendition  is  from  a  Arabs  and 
Greek  manuscript,  shows  some  familiarity  with  Arabic  '"od^''"^- 
learning.  Besides  the  Arabic  saying  already  quoted,  in 
giving  the  Greek  title  of  Ptolemy's  thirteen  books  on  as- 
tronomy he  adds  that  the  Saracens  call  it  by  the  corrupt 
name,  elmcgiiisti  (i.  e.  Almagest)  .^  He  also  acknowledges 
the  aid  he  has  received  from  Eugene,  the  admiral  or  emir, 
whose  translation  of  Ptolemy's  Optks  from  the  Arabic  we 
have  mentioned  elsewhere,  and  whom  he  describes  as  equally 
skilled  in  Greek  and  Arabic,  and  "also  not  ignorant  of 
Latin."  It  may  also  be  noted  that  as  Adelard  of  Bath  con- 
trasted "the  writings  of  men  of  old"  with  "the  science  of 
moderns,"  ^  so  this  translator  characterizes  Ptolemy  as 
veterum  lima,  specculttm  modernorum. 

This  seems  the  best  place  to  call  attention  to  some  evi-   Astron- 
dence   for  the   existence   of   astronomical,    and   apparently   ^rseilles 
also  astrological,  activity  at  Marseilles  in  the  twelfth  cen- 
tury,   seemingly    under    the    influence    of    the    Arabic    as- 
tronomy and  astrology.     In  a  manuscript  at  Paris  which 
the  catalogue  dates  of  the  twelfth  century  ^  is  a  treatise  for- 

'  Line  61.  °  BN  14704,  fols.  144-70  (present 

*  Line  87  et  seq.  numbering,   fols.   iior-35v).     The 
'  Line  23.  handwriting    seems    to    me    later 

*  Lines  20-21,  than  the  twelfth  century,  but  I  am 


merly  said  to  have  been  composed  at  Marseilles  in  the  year 
mi  A.  D.  But  Duhem  has  suggested  that  the  XI  should 
be  XL,  since  the  author  tells  of  a  dispute  at  Marseilles  in 
1139.^  The  text  tells  how  to  find  the  location  of  the 
planets  for  the  city  of  Marseilles  and  is  accompanied  by 
astronomical  tables  imitating  Azarchel.  The  same  treatise 
appears  in  a  manuscript  at  Cambridge,^  written  before  the 
year  1175,  where  it  is  entitled  "The  Book  of  the  Courses 
of  the  Seven  Planets  for  Marseilles"  and  seems  to  be  at- 
tributed to  a  Raymond  of  that  city.  Duhem  notes  that 
our  author  often  cites  an  earlier  treatise  of  his,  De  com- 
positione  astrolabii.  The  treatise  opens  with  allusion  to 
"many  of  the  Indians  and  Chaldeans  and  Arabs" ;  the  author 
also  says,  "And  since  we  were  the  first  of  the  Latins  to  whom 
this  science  came  after  the  translation  of  the  Arabs,"  and 
avers  that  he  employs  the  Christian  calendar  and  chronology 
in  order  to  avoid  all  appearance  of  heresy  or  infidelity.  So 
we  would  seem  to  be  justified  in  connecting  it  with  the  dif- 
fusion of  Arabic  astronomy  and  astrology.  Our  author 
believes  that  God  endowed  the  sky  with  the  virtue  of  pre- 
saging the  future,  cites  various  authorities  sacred  and  pro- 
fane in  favor  of  astrology,  and  emphasizes  especially  the 
importance  of  astrological  medicine.^  It  was  also  at  Mar- 
seilles that  William  of  England  early  in  the  next  century  in 
the  year  12 19  wrote  his  brief  but  very  popular  treatise, 
found  in  many  manuscripts,  entitled  "Of  Urine  Unseen" 
(De  urina  non  visa),  that  is,  how  by  astrology  to  diagnose 
a  case  and  tell  the  color  and  substance  of  the  urine  without 
seeing  it.  Of  it  we  shall  treat  again  later  in  connection  with 
thirteenth  century  medicine.     But  we  may  note  here  that 

not    an    expert   in   such   matters,  dare  poterit.    Expl.  liber  cursuum 

The   text   ends   at   fol.    Ii8v;   the  planetarum   vii."     The    Paris   MS 

rest  is  tables.  ends  with  the  same  sentence,  but 

^  Duhem,  III   (1915),  201-16.  prefixes    at    the    beginning,    "Ad 

'  CU    McClean    165,    f  ols.  44-47,  honorem  et  laudem  dominis  nostri, 

Liber     cursuum     planetarum     vii  patris  scilicet  et  filii,"  etc.     I  have 

super     Massiliam,     "Cum     multos  examined    the    Paris   but   not   the 

indorum     seu     caldeorum     atque  Cambridge  MS.     Duhem  does  not 

arabum.  .  /  .  .  Attamen  siquis  pro-  note  the  latter, 

vidus  fuerit  premissa  satis  emen-  'Duhem   (191S)  205. 


William,  although  of  English  nationality,  was  a  citizen  of 
Marseilles,  and  that  the  person  to  whom  his  work  Of  Urine 
Unseen  was  addressed  had  formerly  studied  with  him  at 
Marseilles.  William  is  also  spoken  of  as  a  professor  of 
medicine.  Furthermore  in  at  least  one  manuscript  William 
of  England  is  called  a  translator  from  the  Arabic,  since  he 
is  said  to  have  translated  from  that  tongue  into  Latin  "The 
very  great  Secret  of  Catenus,  king  of  the  Persians,  concern- 
ing the  virtue  of  the  eagle."  ^  We  may  also  note  that  it  was 
in  reply  to  inquiries  which  he  had  received  from  Jews  of 
Marseilles' that  Moses  Maimonides  in  1194  addressed  to 
them  his  letter  on  astrology."  Interest  in  astronomy  and 
astrology  thus  appears  to  have  prevailed  at  Marseilles  from 
the  first  half  to  the  close  of  the  twelfth  century. 

^  Merton  College  324,   isth  cen-  .../...  Explicit  iste  tractatus 

tury,   but   with   such   early  works  a    magistro    Willelmo    Anglico   de 

as     that     of     Marbod,     fol.     142,  lingua  Arabica  in  Latinum  trans- 

Secretissimum    regis    Cateni    Per-  latus."      One    wonders    if    it   is   a 

sarum    de    virtute    aquilae,    "Est  fragment  of  Kiranides. 
enim   aquila   rex   omnium   avium.  *  See  below,  pp.  206,  211. 





Johannes   Anglicus :   see  John  of   Montpellier. 

Johannes  Archangel :  Additional  22773,  13th  century,  fol.  45, 
"Tabule  Johannis  Archangeli"  astronomiae ;  said  to  be  the  same 
as  Johannes  Campanus. 

Johannes  de  Beltone,  Sloane  314,  15th  century,  fol.  106,  Experi- 
mentum  de  re  astrologica  bonum   (imperfect). 

Johannes  Blanchinus,  BN  7268,  Distinctiones  in  Ptolemaei  alma- 
gestum;  BN  7269,  7270,  7271,  7286,  Tabulae  astronomicae ;  BN 
7270,  7271,  de  primo  mobili ;  Perugia  1004,  15th  century,  "Trac- 
tatus  primus  de  arithmetricha  per  Johannem  de  Blanchinis.  .  .  . 
Regule  conclusionum  ad  practicam  algebre  in  simplicibus.  .  .  . 
Tractatus  florum  Almagesti."  Professor  Karpinski  informs  me 
that  the  Flores  Almagesti  of  Giovanni  Bianchini  was  discussed 
by  L.  Birkenmajer  in  Bull.  d.  VAcad.  d.  Sciences  de  Cracovie, 

Johannes  Bonia,  Valentinus,  BN  7416A,  translated  Fachy,  Sex 
genera  instrumentonim  sive  Canones  Quadrantis  universalis; 
see  Steinschneider   (1905)  p.  39. 

John  of  Brescia,  who  translstted  with  Profatius  Judaeus  at  Mont- 
pellier; see  Steinschneider  (1905)  40. 

John  of  Campania,  BN  6948,  14th  centurj',  t  i,  "Abenzoaris  Taysir 
sive  rectificatio  medicationis  et  regiminis,"  translated  from 
Hebrew  into  Latin. 

Johannes  Campanus  (of  Novara)  is  of  course  well  known  for  his 
Theory  of  the  Planets  and  translation  of  and  commentary  on 
Euclid.  Perhaps  less  familiar  works  are :  Additional  22yy2, 
15th  century,  Johannis  Campani  Novarensis  liber  astronomicus 
de  erroribus  Ptolemaei,  dedicated  to  Pope  Urban  IV ;  Amplon. 
Quarto  349,  late  14th  century,  fols.  57-65,  de  figura  sectorum; 
indeed,  the  collection  of  Amplonius  at  Erfurt  is  rich  in  works 
by  Campanus.  Concerning  him  see  further  HL  XXI  (1847) 
248-54  and  Duhem  III    (1915)   317-21.     They  hold  that  Cam- 



panus  is  not  called  John  in  the  MSS.  His  letter  to  Urban  IV 
(1261-1265)  and  Simon  of  Genoa's  dedication  of  this  Clavis 
sanationis  in  1292  to  "master  Campanus,  chaplain  of  the  pope 
and  canon  at  Paris,"  serve  to  date  him  in  the  later  13th  century. 

John  of  Cilicia  (apparently  the  same  as  John  of  Sicily),  Harleian 
I,  fols.  92-151,  Scripta  super  Canones  Arzachelis  de  tabulis 

John  Dastine  (or  Dastyn),  among  whose  treatises  on  alchemy 
may  be  mentioned  Ashmole  1446,  fols.  141 -54V,  "Incipit  epis- 
tola  ...  ad  Papam  Johannem  XXII  transmissa  de  alchimia"; 
also  found  in  CU  Trinity  1122,  I4-I5th  century,  fol.  94V-. 

Johannes  de  Dondis,  Laud.  Misc.  620,  i6th  century,  "Opus  Plane- 
tarii  Johannis  de  Dondis,  fisici,  Paduani  civis." 

lohannes  Egidii  Zamorensis,  Berlin  934,  14th  century,  242  fols., 
de  historia  naturali ;  it  includes  a  reproduction  of  John  of  Spain's 
39  chapters  on  the  astrolabe. 

John  of  Florence,  Magliabech.  XI-22;  XVI-66,  fols.  260-301,  "In- 
cipit liber  de  magni  lapidis  compositione  editus  a  magistro  artis 
generalis  florentino.  .../...  Explicit  secretum  secretorum 
mineralis  lapidis  mag  lo." 

Joannes  de  Janua  (Genoa),  BN  7281,  7322,  Canon  eclypsium; 
7281,  Investigatio  eclipseos  solis  1337;  7282,  Canones  Tabulares. 
He  is  classed  by  Duhem  IV  (1916)  74-,  as  a  disciple  of  Jean 
des  Linieres. 

Joannes  de  Lineriis,  BN  7281,  15th  century,  tg,  Theorica  plane- 
tarum  ed.  anno  1335,  Sii,  Canones  tabularum  Alphonsi  anno 
1310;  and  other  astronomical  treatises  in  BN  7282,  7285,  7295, 
7295A,  7329,  7378A,  7405,  etc.  Gonville  and  Caius  no,  14th 
century,  pp.  1-6,  Canones  super  magnum  almanach  omnium 
planetarum  a  mag.  lohanne  de  Lineriis  picardi  ambianensis 
dyocesis,  compositum  super  meridianum  parisiensem.  See  also 
Duhem  IV   (1916)   60-68,  "Jean  des  Linieres." 

loannes  Lodoycus  Tetrapharmacus,  S.  Marco  XIV-38,  14th  cen- 
tury, 160  fols.,  "Antidotarius  Galaf  Albucassim  Aqarauni  a 
loanne  Lodoyco  Tetrapharmaco  gebenensi  filio  Petri  fructiferi 
mathematici  .  .  .  de  arabico  in  latinum  translatus"  (1198  A.  D.), 

John  of  London,  BN  7413,  14th  century,  fols.  I9v-2ir,  de  astrologia 
judicaria  ad  R.  de  Guedingue,  or  it  may  be  better  described  as  a 
letter,  written  in  1246  or  shortly  thereafter  ("usque  ad  conside- 
racionem  meam  que  fuit  anno  Christi  1246"),  in  which  John 
discusses  various  matters,  including  the  motion  of  the  eighth 
sphere  and  dog  days,  and  states  that  he  is  sending  a  transcript 
of  tables  of  the  fixed  stars  which  he  verified  at  Paris. 


The  John  of  London  who  gave  so  many  MSS  to  the  library  of  St. 
Augustine's,  Canterbury — see  James  (1903) — ^would  seem  to 
have  been  of  later  date,  since  his  books  included  works  of 
Aquinas,  Roger  Bacon,  and  John  Peckham,  the  chronicle  of 
Martin  which  extends  to  1277,  translations  of  the  astrological 
treatises  of  Abraham  aben  Ezra  which  were  not  made  until 
toward  the  close  of  the  13th  century,  and  even  treatises  by 
Joannes  de  Lineriis  who  wrote  in  the  early  14th  century  and 
William  of  St.  Cloud  who  made  his  astronomical  observations 
between  1285  and  1321.  It  therefore  seems  unlikely  that  the 
donor,  John  of  London,  could  be  even  the  young  lad  who  was 
spoken  of  in  such  high  terms  by  Roger  Bacon,  as  is  suggested 
by  James  (1903)  pp.  Ixxiv-vii.  Possibly  the  Friar  John  men- 
tioned below  is  Bacon's  protege. 

John  Manduith,  CUL  1572  (Gg.  VI.  3),  14th  century,  astronomical 
treatises  and  tables.  Other  MSS,  mentioned  by  Tanner  (1748) 
p.  506,  contain  tables  finished  by  him  in  Oxford  in  1310. 

Johannis  de  Mehun  (Jean  de  Meun),  de  lapide  minerali  et  de 
lapide  vegetabili,  Sloane  976,  15th  century,  fols.  85-108;  Sloane 
1069,  1 6th  century. 

Johannes  de  Messina,  a  translator  for  Alfonso  X  in  1276;  perhaps 
identical  with  John  of  Sicily,  see  Steinschneider  (1905)  p.  51. 

Fratris  Joannis  ord.  Minorum  Summa  de  astrologia,  BN  7293A, 
14th  century,  $3.  Possibly  this  is  Roger  Bacon's  lad  John  fol- 
lowing in  his  master's  footsteps. 

John  of  Montpellier  or  Anglicus  (and  see  John  of  St.  Giles),  a 
treatise  on  the  quadrant.  BN  7298,  7414,  7416B,  7437,  Joannes 
de  Montepessulano  de  quadrante ;  Firenze  II-iii-22,  i6th  cen- 
tury, fols.  268-82,  "Explicit  quadrans  magistri  lohannis  Anglici 
in  monte;"  Firenze  II-iii-24,  14th  century,  fols.  176-82,  "Incipit 
tractatus  quadrantis  veteris  secundum  magistrum  lohannem  de 
Montepessulano."  CUL  1707  (Qi.  L  15),  fols.  io-i4r,  "Quad- 
rans Magistri  Johannis  Anglici  in  Monte  Pessulano."  CUL 
1767  (Qi,  in.  3),  1276  A.  D.,  fols.  56-60,  Tractatus  quadrantis 
editus  a  magistro  Johanne  in  monte  Pessulano. 

John  of  Meurs  (Johannes  de  Muris),  a  French  writer  on  music, 
mathematics  and  astronomy  in  1321,  1322,  1323,  1339,  and  1345. 
Parts  of  his  works  have  been  printed.  See  further  L.  C.  Kar- 
pinski,  "The  'Quadripartitum  numerorum'  of  John  of  Meurs," 
in  Bibl.  Math.  (1912-1913)  99-114;  R.  Hirschfeld,  lo.  de  Muris,- 
1884;  Duhem   (1916)   IV,  30-37. 

Johannes  Ocreatus,  see  Steinschneider   (1905)   p.  51. 

Johannes  Papiensis,  see  Steinschneider  (1905)  p.  51. 


Johannes  Parisiensis,  master  in  theology,  besides  several  theolog- 
ical treatises  w^rote  de  yride  and  super  librum  metheorum.  His 
Contra  corruptum  Thome  shows  that  he  wrote  after  Aquinas. 
See  Denifle  (1886)  p.  226. 

There  was  also  a  medical  writer  named  John  of  Paris  who  per- 
haps, rather  than  Thaddeus  of  Florence,  wrote  the  treatise,  De 
complexionibus  corporis  humani,  Amplon.  Quarto  35,  1421 
A.  D.,  fols.  142-58.  The  remark  of  V.  Rose  may  also  be  re- 
called, "loh.  Parisiensis  ist  bekanntlich  ein  Madchen  fiir  alles." 

John  of  Poland,  Addit.  22668,  I3th-i4th  century,  Liber  Magistri 
Johannis  Poloni,"  medical  recipes,  etc. 

Johannes  de  Probavilla,  Vienna  2520,  14th  century,  fols.  37-50, 
"Liber  de  signis  prognosticis." 

John  of  Procida,  see  De  Renzi,  III,  71,  Placita  Philosophorum 
Moralium  Antiquorum  ex  Graeco  in  Latinum  translata  a  Ma- 
gistro  Joanne  de  Procida  Magno  cive  Salernitano. 

Johannes  de  Protsschida,  CLM  27006,  15th  century,  fols.  216-31, 
Compendium  de  occultis  naturae. 

loannes  de  Rupecissa,  a  Franciscan  who  wrote  various  works  on 
alchemy  and  who  was  imprisoned  by  the  pope  in  1345  for  his 
prophecies  concerning  the  church  and  antichrist;  it  would  take 
too  long  to  list  the  MSS  here. 

Johannes  de  Sacrobosco  (John  Holywood),  well  known  for  his 
Sphere,  which  has  been  repeatedly  printed  and  was  the  subject 
of  commentaries  by  many  medieval  authors. 

Joannes  de  S.  Aegidio  (John  of  St.  Giles,  also  Anglicus  or  de 
Sancto  Albano),  Bodleian  786,  fol.  170,  Experimenta  (medical). 

John  of  St.  Amand,  a  medical  writer,  discussed  in  our  58th  chap- 

Johannes  de  Sancto  Paulo,  another  medical  writer  whose  best 
known  work  seems  to  be  that  on  medicinal  simples. 

John  of  Salisbury;  see  our  41st  chapter. 

John  of  Saxony,  or  John  Danko  of  Saxony,  at  Paris  in  1331  wrote 
a  commentary  on  the  astrological  Ysagogicus  of  Alchabitius, 
which  John  of  Spain  had  earlier  translated.  Amplon.  Quarto 
354,  14th  century,  fols.  4-59,  Commenta  Dankonis  scilicet  magis- 
tri lohannis  de  Saxonia  super  Alkubicium;  Amplon.  Folio  387, 
14th  century,  46  fols.,  lohannis  Danconis  Saxonis  almanach 
secundum  tabulas  Alfonsinas  compositum  et  annis  1336-1380  me- 
ridiano  Parisiensi  accomodatum — also  in  Amplon.  Folio  389  and 
many  other  MSS;  BN  7197,  7281,  7286.  7295A,  Canones  ad 
motum  stellarum  ordinati.     Duhem  IV    (1916)    yy  and   578-81 

98   MAGIC  AND  EXPERIMENTAL  SCIENCE  chap,  xxxviii 

holds  that  two  men  have  been  confounded  as  John  of  Saxony, — 
one  of  the  13th,  the  other  of  the  14th  century. 

Johannes  de  Sicca  Villa,  Royal  12-E-XXV,  fols.  37-65,  de  prin- 
cipiis  naturae. 

Joannes  de  Sicilia,  BN  7281,  7406,  Expositio  super  canones  Arza- 
chelis.  Steinschneider  (1905)  p.  51,  dates  it  in  1290  and  regards 
this  John  as  "hardly  to  be  identified"  ("schwerlich  identisch") 
with  John  of  Messina.     See  also  Duhem  IV   (1916)  6-9. 

Joannes  de  Toledo,  perhaps  identical  with  John  of  Spain,  as  we 
have  said. 

lohannes  de  Tornamira,  dean  or  chancellor  of  Montpellier,  Amplon. 
Folio  272,  1391  A.  D.,  fols.  1-214,  Clarificatorium  .  .  .  procedens 
secundum  Rasim  in  nono  Almansoris. 

Joannes  Vincentius,  Presbyter,  Prior  Eccles.  de  Monast,  super 
Ledum,  BN  3446,  15th  century,  lf2,  Adversus  magicas  artes  et 
eos  qui  dicunt  artibus  eisdem  nullam  inesse  efficaciam;  Incipit 

John  of  Wallingford,  Cotton  Julius  D-V'I,  fols.  i-7r,  an  astro- 
nomical fragment. 



Problem  of  his  identity — His  works — Their  influence — Disregard  of 
Christian  theology — The  divine  stars — Orders  of  spirits — The  stars  rule 
nature  and  reveal  the  future — Plot  of  the  Mathematicus — Different 
interpretations  put  upon  the  Mathematicus — Hildebert's  Hermaphro- 
dite's horoscope — The  art  of  geomancy — Prologue  of  the  Experimen- 
tarius — Pictures  of  Bernard  Silvester — Problem  of  a  spying-tube  and 
Hermann's  relation  to  the  Experimentarius — Text  of  the  Experimen- 
tarius — Two  versions  of  the  28  Judges — Other  modes  of  divination — ■ 
Divination  of  the  physician  of  King  Amalricus — ^/renostica  Socratis 
Basilci — Further  modes  of  divination — Experimental  character  of  geo- 
mancj' — Various  other  geomancies — Interest  of  statesmen  and  clergy 
in  the  art — Appendix  I.  Manuscripts  of  the  Experimentarius  of  Ber- 
nard Silvester. 

"Nell'  ora  che  non  pud  il  calor  diurno 
Intrepidar  pin  il  freddo  delta  lun<t, 
Vinto  da  terra,  0  falor  da  Saturno 
Quando  i  geomanti  lor  Maggior  Fortiina 
Veggiono  in  oriente,  innan^i  all'  alba, 
Surger  per  via  che  poco  le  sta  bruno." 

Purg.  XIX,  1-6. 

of  his 

Bernard  Silvester,  of  whom  this  chapter  will  treat,  is  Problem 
now  generally  recognized  as  a  different  person  from 
the  Bernard  of  Chartres  whom  William  of  Conches  fol- 
lowed and  on  whose  teaching  John  of  Salisbury  looked 
back.^  From  John's  account  it  is  plain  that  Bernard  of 
Chartres  belonged  to  the  generation  before  William  of  Con- 
ches, and  Clerval  has  shown  reason  to  believe  that  he  was 

'  Qerval,  Les  JEcoles  de  Char- 
tres. Paris,  189s,  pp.  158-63.  The 
point  was  for  a  time  contested 
by  Ch.  V.  Langlois,  "Maitre  Ber- 
nard," in  Bibi.  de  I'^cole  des 
Charles,     LIV     (1893)     and     by 

Haureau.  The  two  Bernards  are 
still  identified  in  EB,  nth  edition, 
while  Steinschneider  (1905),  p.  8, 
still  identified  Bernard  of  Char- 
tres with  the  author  of  De  mundi 



dead  by  1130.^  Bernard  Silvester,  on  the  other  hand,  wrote 
his  De  mundi  imiversitate  during  the  pontificate  of  Eugenius 
III,  1145-1153.  Moreover,  one  of  his  pupils  informs  us 
that  he  taught  at  Tours.^  This  last  fact  also  makes  it  diffi- 
cult, although  not  impossible,  to  identify  him  with  a  Breton, 
named  Bernard  de  Moelan,  who,  after  serving  as  canon  and 
chancellor  at  Chartres,  became  bishop  of  Quimper  from 
1 1 59  to  1167.^  At  least  they  appear  to  have  had  somewhat 
similar  interests,  and  Silvester  seems  to  have  had  some  con- 
nection with  the  school  of  Chartres,  since  he  dedicated  the 
De  mundi  imiversitate  to  Theodoric  of  Chartres.^ 
His  works.  A  number  of  works  are  extant  under  the  name  of  Ber- 

nard Silvester.  His  interest  in  rhetoric  and  poetry  is  shown 
by  a  long  Siimma  dictaminis  (or,  dictaminum)  and  by  a 
Liber  de  metrificatiira,  in  the  Titidus  of  which  he  is  called 
"a  poet  of  the  first  rank"  (optimi  poetae).^  He  also  wrote 
a  commentary  on  the  first  books  of  the  Aeneid.^  Two  other 
treatises  are  ascribed  to  him  in  which  we  are  not  here  fur- 
ther interested,  namely :  De  fornia  vitae  honestae  and  De 
cura  rei  familiaris  or  Epistola  ad  Raimundimi  de  modo  rei 
familiaris  gubernandae.'^  The  three  works  of  especial  in- 
terest to  us,  while  no  one  of  them  is  exactly  a  treatise  on 
astrology,  all  illustrate,  albeit  each  in  a  different  way,  the 
dominance  of  astrological  doctrine  in  the  thought  of  the 
time.  One  is  Experimcntarius,  an  astrological  geomancy 
translated  into  verse  from  the  Arabic.^     Another  is  a  nar- 

*  Dr.  R.  L.  Poole,  EHR  (1920),      famosissimo    bernardus    silvestris 
p.  2>2y,  does  not  regard  this  as  ab-       opus   suum." 

solutely   certain   but   agrees   at   p.  °  Clerval  (1895),  pp.  173-4- 

331    "that    the    evidence   of    place  *  BN    16246,   15th  century.     Ex- 

and    time    make    it    impossible    to  tracts    from    it     are     printed     by 

identify    Bernard     Silvester    with  Cousin,  Fragments  philosophiques, 

Bernard  of   Chartres,"  as  he  had  II,  348-52.     John  of  Salisbury  in 

done    earlier    in    Illustrations    of  1159  used   it  in  the  Polycraticus, 

Medieval     Thought     (1884),     pp.  ed.  Webb  (1909)   I.  x^x,  xlii-xliii. 

113-26.  ''  Many  MSS  at  Paris,  BN  3195, 

'B.  Haureau,  Le  Mathematicus  5698,  6395,  6477,  6480,  7054,  8299, 

de      Bernard      Silvestris,     Paris,  8513,  and  probably  others.     MSS 

1895,  p.   II.  catalogues     often     ascribe     it     to 

'Clerval  (1895),  pp.  158,  173.  St.   Bernard. 

*  BN    6415,    f  ol.    74V,    "Terrico  *  Attention  was  first  called  to  it 
veris    scientiarum    titulis    doctori  by     Langlois,     Maitrc     Bernard- 




Additional  35112,  Liber  de  mun- 
di  philosophia,  author  not  named. 

Sloane  2477  and  Royal  15-A- 

CU  Trinity  1335,  early  13th 
century,  fols.  1-25V,  Bernardi 
Silvestris    Cosmographia. 

CU  Trinity  1368  (II),  late 
I2th  century,  50  leaves,  Bernardi 
Silvestris  Megacosmus  et  Mi- 

'Clerval's  (1895)  pp.  259-61, 
"Le  systeme  de  Bernard  Silves- 
ter," is  limited  to  the  De  mundi 
universitate  and  says  nothing  of 
his  obvious  astrological  doctrine, 
although  at  p.  240  Clerval  briefly 
states  that  in  that  work  Bernard 
takes  over  many  figures  from 
pagan  astrology. 

*HL  XII  (1763)  p.  261  et  seq., 
besides  the  De  nvundi  universitate 
mentioned  "two  poems  in  elegiacs 
written  expressly  in  defense  of 
the  influence  of  the  constella- 
tions." These  were  very  probably 
the  Matheniaticus  and  Experi- 
mentarius,  or  the  two  parts  or 
versions  of  the  latter. 

^  History  of  Classical  Scholar- 
ship (1903)  I,  515;  Illustrations 
of  Medieval  Thought  (1884)  p. 

"EHR  (1920)  p.  331. 


rative  poem  whose  plot  hinges  upon  an  astrologer's  pre- 
diction and  whose  very  title  is  Mathematicus}  The  third 
work,  variously  entitled  De  mundi  universitate,  Megacosmus 
et  Microcosmus,  and  Cosmographia  -  has  much  to  say  of  the 
stars  and  their  rule  over  inferior  creation.^  It  is  written 
partly  in  prose  and  partly  in  verse,^  and  shows  that  Bernard 
laid  as  much  stress  on  literary  form  in  his  scientific  or 
pseudo-scientific  v/orks  as  in  those  on  rhetoric  and  meter. 
Sandys  says  of  it,  "The  rhythm  of  the  hexameters  is  clearly 
that  of  Lucan,  while  the  vocabulary  is  mainly  that  of  Ovid"  ; 
but  Dr.  Poole  believes  that  the  hexameters  are  modelled  upon 
Lucretius.^  He  would  date  it  either  in  1145  or  about  1147- 

The  manuscripts  of  these  three  works  are  fairly  numer-   Their 
ous,  indicating  that  they  were  widely  read,  and  no  con- 

1893.  It  has  not  been  printed. 
A  description  of  some  of  the  MSS 
of  it  will  be  found  in  Appendix  I 
at  the  close  of  this  chapter. 

^  B.  Haureau,  Le  Mathematicus 
de  Bernard  Silvestris,  Paris,  1895, 
contains  the  text  and  lists  the  fol- 
lowing MSS:  BN  3718,  5129, 
6415;  Tours  300;  Cambrai  875; 
Bodleian  A-44;  Vatican  344,  370, 
1440  de  la  Reine;  Berlin  Cod. 
Theol.  Octavo  94.  Printed  in 
Migne  PL  171,  1365-80,  among  the 
poems    of    Hildebert   of    Tours. 

'  Ed.  by  Wrobel  and  Barach,  in 
Bibl.  Philos.  mediae  aetatis,  Inns- 
bruck, 1876,  from  two  MSS, 
Vienna  526  and  CLM  22,^^A. 
HL  XII  (1763),  p.  261  et  seq., 
had  already  listed  six  MSS  in  the 
then  Royal  Library  at  Paris  (now 
there  are  at  least  eight,  BN  3245, 
6415,  6752A,  7994,  8320,  875 1 C, 
8808A,  and  15009,  I2-I3th  cen- 
lury,  fol.  187),  four  at  the 
Vatican,  and  many  others  else- 
where. The  following  may  be 
added : 

Cotton  Titus  D-XX,  fols.  iiov- 
iiSr,  Bernardi  Sylvestris  de 
utroque  mundo,  majore  et  minore. 

Cotton  Cleopatra  A-XIV,  fols. 
1-26,  Bernardi  Sylvestris  cosmo- 
graphia proso-metrice  in  qua  de 
multis    rebus   physicis    agitur. 


temporary  objection  appears  to  have  been  raised  against 
their  rather  extreme  astrological  doctrines.  As  was  well 
observed  concerning  the  De  mundi  unwersitate  over  one 
hundred  and  fifty  years  ago,  "These  extravagances  and  some 
other  similar  ones  did  not  prevent  the  book  from  achieving 
a  very  brilliant  success  from  the  moment  of  its  first  ap- 
pearance," as  is  shown  by  the  contemporary  testimony  of 
Peter  Cantor  in  the  closing  twelfth  century  and  Eberhart 
de  Bethune  in  the  early  thirteenth  century,  who  says  that  the 
De  mundi  nnirersitate  was  read  in  the  schools.  Gervaise  of 
Tilbury  and  Vincent  of  Beauvais  also  cited  it.^  Indeed  in 
our  next  chapter  we  shall  find  a  Christian  abbess,  saint,  and 
prophetess  of  Bernard's  own  time  charged — by  a  modern 
writer,  it  is  true — with  making  use  of  it  in  her  visions. 
Passages  from  Silvester  are  included  in  a  thirteenth  cen- 
tury collection  of  "Proverbs"  from  ancient  and  recent 
writers,^  and  more  than  one  copy  of  the  De  mundi  universi- 
tafe  is  listed  in  such  a  medieval  monastic  library  as  St.  Au- 
gustine's, Canterbury.^ 
Disregard  In  the  De  mundi  imiversitate  we  see  the  same  influence 

tianthe-'      ^^  Platonism  and  astronomy,  and  of  the  Latin  translation 
ology.  of  the  Timaeiis  in  especial,  as  in  the  Philosophia  of  William 

of  Conches.  At  the  same  time,  its  abstract  personages  and 
personified  sciences,  its  Nous  and  Nat  lira,  its  Urania  and 
Physis  with  her  two  daughters.  Theoretical  and  Practical, 
remind  us  of  the  pages  of  Martianus  Capella  and  of  Adelard 
of  Bath's  De  eodem  et  diverso.  The  characterization  by 
Dr.  Poole  that  the  work  "has  an  entirely  pagan  complexion," 
and  that  Bernard's  scheme  of  cosmology  is  pantheistic  and 
takes  no  account  of  Christian  theology,^  is  essentially  true, 
although  occasionally  some  utterance  indicates  that  the  writer 
is  acquainted  with  Christianity  and  no  true  pagan.     Per- 

*  HL  XII   (1763)   p.  261  et  seq.  Afcgacosmus    and    Mathcvujticus, 

^Berlin  193  (Phillips  1827),  fol.  with    the    treatise   of    Valerius   to 

25V,   "Proverbia."  Rufinus    on    not    getting    married 

^Indeed,    the    15th   century   cat-  sandwiched  in  between. 

alogue  of  that  abbey  lists  one  MS,  *  Poole    (1884)    pp.    1 17-18. 

1482,    which    contains    both    the 

..xxxix  BERNARD  SILVESTER  103 

haps  it  is  just  because  Bernard  makes  no  pretense  of  being 
a  theologian,  that  at  a  time  when  William  of  Conches  was 
retracting  in  his  Dragmaticon  some  of  the  views  expressed  in 
his  Philosophia  and  the  Sicilian  translator  was  conscious  of 
a  bigoted  theological  opposition,  Bernard  should  display  nei- 
ther fear  nor  consciousness  of  the  existence  of  any  such  op- 
position. And  yet  it  does  not  appear  that  the  Sicilian  trans- 
lator engaged  in  theological  discussion.  Yet  he  complains 
of  those  who  call  astronomy  idolatry;  Bernard  calmly  calls 
the  stars  gods,  and  no  one  seems  to  have  raised  the  least  ob- 
jection. At  least  Bernard's  fearless  outspokenness  and  its 
subsequent  popularity  should  prevent  our  laying  too  much 
stress  upon  the  timidity  of  other  writers  in  expressing  new 
views,  and  should  make  us  hesitate  before  interpreting  their 
attitude  as  a  sure  sign  of  real  danger  to  freedom  of  thought 
and  speech,  and  to  scientific  investigation. 

What  especially  concerns  our  investigation  are  the  views  The  divine 
concerning  stars  and  spirits  expressed  by  Silvester.  Like  ^^^"' 
William  of  Conches,  he  describes  the  world  of  spirits  in  a 
Platonic  or  Neo-Platonic,  rather  than  patristic,  style.  He 
differs  from  William  in  hardly  using  the  word  "demon"  at 
all  and  in  according  the  stars,  like  Adelard  of  Bath,  a  much 
higher  place  in  his  hierarchy.  "The  heaven  itself  is  full  of 
God,"  says  Bernard,  "and  the  sky  has  its  own  animals,  side- 
real fires,"  ^  just  as  man,  who  is  in  part  a  spiritual  being, 
inhabits  the  earth.  Bernard  does  not  hesitate  to  call  the 
stars  "gods  who  serve  God  in  person,"  or  "who  serve  in 
God's  very  presence."  ^  There  in  the  region  of  purer  ether 
which  extends  as  far  as  the  sun  they  enjoy  the  vision  of  bliss 
eternal,  free  from  all  care  and  distraction,  and  resting  in  the 
peace  of  God  which  passeth  all  understanding.^     He  also 

'' De    mundi  universitate,   II,   6,  praesentia  servit." 

10,    "Caelum    ipsum    Deo    plenum  Also  II,  4,  39,  "deos  caelumque." 

est.  .  .  .  Sua  caelo  animalia  ignes  ^  Ibid.,     II,     6,     49,     "Qui     quia 

siderei.  .  .  ."  aeternae   beatitudinis   visione  per- 

^  Ibid.,  I,  3,  6-7,             _  fruuntur,     ab     omni     distrahentis 

"Motus     circuitus     numina    turba  curae  sollicitudine  feriati  in  pace 

deum  Dei  quae  omnem  sensum  superat 

Dice    deos    quorum    ante    Deum  conquiescunt." 



Orders  of 

The  stars 
rule  na- 
ture and 
reveal  the 

repeats  the  Platonic  doctrine  that  the  mind  is  from  the  sky 
and  that  the  human  soul,  when  at  last  it  lays  aside  the  body, 
"will  return  to  its  kindred  stars,  added  as  a  god  to  the  num- 
ber of  superior  beings,"  ^ 

Between  heaven  and  earth,  between  God  and  man,  comes 
the  mediate  and  composite  order  of  "angelic  creation." 
"With  the  divinity  of  the  stars"  the  members  of  this  order 
share  the  attribute  of  deathlessness;  with  man  they  have 
this  in  common,  to  be  stirred  by  passion  and  impulse.-  Be- 
tween sun  and  moon  are  benevolent  angels  who  act  as  me- 
diums between  God  and  man.  Other  spirits  inhabit  the  air 
beneath  the  moon.  Some  of  them  display  an  affinity  to  the 
near-by  ether  and  fire,  and  live  in  tranquillity  and  mental 
serenity,  although  dwelling  in  the  air.  A  second  variety  are 
the  genii  who  are  associated  each  with  some  man  from  birth 
to  warn  and  guide  him.  But  in  the  lower  atmosphere  are 
disorderly  and  malignant  spirits  who  often  are  divinely 
commissioned  to  torment  evil-doers,  or  sometimes  torment 
men  of  their  own  volition.  Often  they  invisibly  invade 
human  minds  and  thoughts  by  silent  suggestion ;  again  they 
assume  bodies  and  take  on  ghostly  forms.  These  Bernard 
calls  angelos  desertores,  or  fallen  angels.  But  there  are  still 
left  to  be  noted  the  spirits  who  inhabit  the  earth,  on  moun- 
tains or  in  forests  and  by  streams :  Silvani,  Pans,  and  Nerei. 
They  are  of  harmless  character  (innocua  conversatione) 
and,  being  composed  of  the  elements  in  a  pure  state,  are  long- 
lived  but  in  the  process  of  time  will  dissolve  again. ^  This 
classification  of  spirits  seems  to  follow  Martianus  Capella. 

Bernard's  assertion  that  the  stars  are  gods  is  accom- 
panied, as  one  would  naturally  expect,  by  a  belief  in  their 
control  of  nature  and  revelation  of  the  future.  From  their 
proximity  to  God  they  receive  from  His  mind  the  secrets 
of  the  future,  which  they  "establish  through  the  lower  spe- 

^De   mundi   univcrsiiate,   II,    4,  'Ibid.,    II,    6,    36-,    "Participat- 

49-50.  enim  angelicae  creationis  numerus 

"Corpore      iam      posito      cognata  cum   siderum   divinitate  quod  non 

reibit  ad  astra  moritur ;   cum  homine,  quod  pas- 

Additus      in     numero      superum  sionum  aflFectibus   incitatur." 

deus."  '  Ibid.,  II,  6,  92  et  scq. 


cies  of  the  universe  by  inevitable  necessity."  ^  Life  comes 
to  the  world  of  nature  from  the  sky  as  if  from  God,  and  the 
creatures  of  the  earth,  air,  and  water  could  not  move  from 
their  tracks,  did  they  not  absorb  vivifying  motions  from 
the  sky,^  Nous  or  Intelligence  says  to  Nature,  "I  would 
have  you  behold  the  sky,  inscribed  with  a  multiform  variety 
of  images,  which,  like  a  book  with  open  pages,  containing 
the  future  in  cryptic  letters,  I  have  revealed  to  the  eyes  of 
the  more  learned."  ^  In  another  passage  Bernard  affirms 
that  God  writes  in  the  stars  of  the  sky  what  can  come  "from 
fatal  law,"  that  the  movements  of  the  stars  control  all  ages, 
that  there  already  is  latent  in  the  stars  a  series  of  events 
which  long  time  will  unfold,  and  that  all  the  events  of  his- 
tory, even  the  birth  of  Christ,  have  been  foreshadowed  by 
the  stars. 
"Scribit  enim  caelum  stellis  totumque  figurat 
Quod  de  fatali  lege  venire  potest, 
Praesignat  qualique  modo  qualique  tenore 

Omnia  sidereus  saecula  motus  agat. 
Praejacet  in  stellis  series  quam  longior  aetas 

Explicet  et  spatiis  temporis  ordo  suis : 
Sceptra  Phoronei,  fratrum  discordia  Thebae, 

Flammae  Phaethonis,  Deucalionis  aquae. 
In  stellis  Codri  paupertas,  copia  Croesi, 
Incestus  Paridis,  Hippolytique  pudor; 
In  stellis  Priami  species,  audacia  Turni, 
Sensus  Ulixeus,  Herculeusque  vigor. 
In  stellis  pugil  est  Pollux,  et  navita  Typhis, 

Et  Cicero  rhetor,  et  geometra  Thales; 
In  stellis  lepidus  dictat  Maro,  Milo  figurat, 

Fulgurat  in  latia  nobilitate  Nero. 
Astra  notat  Persis,  Aegyptus  parturit  artes, 

Graecia  docta  legit,  praelia  Roma  gerit. 
Exemplar  specimenque  Dei  virguncula  Christum 

Parturit,  et  verum  saecula  numen  habent."  * 
^  De   mundi   universitate,   II,   6,  ^  Ibid.,  II,  i,  23-. 

47-.  *  Ibid.,  1,  3,  33  et  seq. 

'Ibid.,  I,  4,  5-. 


Yet  Bernard  urges  man  to  model  his  life  after  the  stars,^ 
and  once  speaks  of  "what  is  free  in  the  will  and  what  is  of 
necessity."  He  thus  appears,  like  the  author  of  the  treatise 
on  fate  ascribed  to  Plutarch,  like  Boethius,  and  like  a  hpst 
of  other  theologians,  philosophers,  and  astrologers,  to  be- 
lieve in  the  co-existence  of  free  will,  inevitable  fate,  and 
"variable   fortune."  ^ 

Bernard  Silvester's  interest  and  faith  in  the  art  of  as- 
trology is  further  exemplified  by  his  poem  Mathcmaticus, 
a  narrative  which  throughout  assumes  the  truth  of  astrologi- 
cal prediction  concerning  human  fortune.  Haureau  showed 
that  it  had  been  incorrectly  included  among  the  works  of 
Hildebert  of  Tours  and  Le  Mans,  and  that  the  theme  is 
suggested  in  the  fourth  Pseudo-Quintillian  declamation,  but 
that  Bernard  has  added  largely  to  the  plot  there  briefly  out- 
lined. A  Roman  knight  and  lady  were  in  every  respect  well 
endowed  both  by  nature  and  fortune  except  that  their  mar- 
riage had  up  to  the  moment  when  the  story  opens  been  a 
childless  one.  At  last  the  wife  consulted  an  astrologer  or 
mathematiais,  "who  could  learn  from  the  stars,"  we  are  told, 
"the  intentions  of  the  gods,  the  mind  of  the  fates,  and  the 
plan  of  Jove,  and  discover  the  hidden  causes  and  secrets  of 
nature."  He  informed  her  that  she  would  bear  a  son  who 
would  become  a  great  genius  and  the  ruler  of  Rome,  but 
who  would  one  day  kill  his  father.  \\'hen  the  wife  told  her 
husband  of  this  prediction,  he  made  her  promise  to  kill  the 
child  in  infancy.  But  when  the  time  came,  her  mother  love 
prevailed  and  she  secretly  sent  the  boy  away  to  be  reared, 
while  she  assured  her  husband  that  he  w^as  dead.  She  named 
her  son  Patricida  in  order  that  he  might  abhor  the  crime 
of  patricide  the  more.  The  boy  early  gave  signs  of  great 
intellectual  capacity.     Among  other  studies  he  learned  "the 

^  De   mundi   universitate,   II,  4,  fatum 

31-50;  and  II,  I,  30-32.  Fortunaeque  vices  variabilis 

^  Ibid.,  II,  I,  33-35-     ^                ,  Quae    sit    in    arbitrio    res    libera 

"Parcarum    leges    et    ineluctabile  guidve    necesse." 


orbits  of  the  stars  and  how  human  fate  is  under  the  stars," 
and  he  "clasped  divine  Aristotle  to  his  breast."  Later  on, 
when  Rome  was  hard  pressed  by  the  Carthaginians  and  her 
king  was  in  captivity,  he  rallied  her  defeated  forces  and 
ended  the  war  in  triumph. 

"And  because  the  fatal  order  demands  it  so  shall  be, 
The  fates  gave  him  this  path  to  dominion.  .  .  . 
Blind  chance  sways  the  silly  toiling  of  men; 
Our  world  is  the  plaything  and  sport  of  the  gods." 

The  king  thereupon  abdicated  in  favor  of  Patricida,  whom 
he  addressed  in  these  words,  "O  youth,  on  whose  birth,  if 
there  is  any  power  in  the  stars,  a  favorable  horoscope  looked 

The  mother  rejoiced  to  hear  of  her  son's  success,  and 
marveled  at  the  correctness  of  the  astrologer's  prediction, 
but  was  now  the  more  troubled  as  to  her  husband's  fate.  He 
noticed  her  distraction  and  at  last  induced  her  to  tell  him 
its  cause.  But  then,  instead  of  being  angry  at  the  deception 
which  she  had  practiced  upon  him,  and  instead  of  being 
alarmed  at  the  prospect  of  his  own  death,  he,  too,  rejoiced 
in  his  son's  success,  and  said  that  he  would  die  happy,  if  he 
could  but  see  and  embrace  him.  He  accordingly  made  him- 
self known  to  his  son  and  told  him  how  he  had  once  ordered 
his  death  but  had  been  thwarted  by  the  eternal  predestined 
order  of  events,  and  how  some  day  his  son  would  slay  him, 
not  of  evil  intent  but  compelled  by  the  courses  of  the  stars. 
"And  manifest  is  the  fault  of  the  gods  in  that  you  cannot 
be  kinder  to  your  father." 

The  son  thereupon  determines  that  he  will  evade  the 
decree  of  the  stars  by  committing  suicide.  He  is  represented 
as  soliloquizing  as  follows: 

"How  is  our  mind  akin  to  the  ethereal  stars, 
If  it  suffers  the  sad  necessity  of  harsh  Lachesis? 
In  vain  we  possess  a  particle  of  the  divine  mind. 
If  our  reason  cannot  make  provision  for  itself. 



tions put 
upon  the 

God  so  made  the  elements,  so  made  the  fiery  stars, 
That  man  is  not  subject  to  the  stars." 

Patricida  accordingly  summons  all  the  Romans  together, 
and,  after  inducing  them  by  an  eloquent  rehearsal  of  his 
great  services  in  their  behalf  to  grant  him  any  boon  that  he 
may  ask,  says  that  his  wish  is  to  die ;  and  at  this  point  the 
poem  ends,  leaving  us  uninformed  whether  the  last  part  of 
the  astrologer's  prediction  remained  unfulfilled,  or  whether 
Patricida's  suicide  caused  his  father's  death,  or  whether  pos- 
sibly some  solution  was  found  in  a  play  upon  the  word 
Patricida.  Haureau,  however,  believed  that  the  poem  is 
complete  as  it  stands. 

The  purpose  of  the  poet  and  his  attitude  towards  astrol- 
ogy have  been  interpreted  in  diametrically  opposite  ways  by 
different  scholars.  Before  Haureau  it  was  customary  to  at- 
tribute the  poem  to  Hildebert,  archbishop  of  Tours,  and  to 
regard  it  as  an  attack  upon  astrology.  The  early  editors  of 
the  Histoire  Littercdre  de  la  France  supported  their  asser- 
tion that  the  most  judicious  men  of  letters  in  the  eleventh 
and  twelfth  centuries  had  only  a  sovereign  scorn  for  the 
widely  current  astrological  superstition  of  their  time  by 
citing  Hildebert  as  ridiculing  the  art  in  his  Mathematiciis} 
A  century  later  Charles  Jourdain  again  represented  Hilde- 
bert as  turning  to  ridicule  the  vain  speculations  of  the  as- 
trologers.^ Bourasse,  the  editor  of  Hildebert's  works  as 
they  appear  in  Migne's  Patrologia  Latina,  seems  to  have  felt 
that  the  poem  was  scarcely  an  outspoken  attack  upon  as- 
trology and  tried  to  explain  it  as  an  academic  exercise  which 
was  not  to  be  taken  seriously,  but  regarded  as  satire  upon 
judicial  astrology.  Haureau  not  only  denied  Archbishop 
Hildebert's  authorship,  but  took  the  common  sense  view 
that  the  poet  believes  fully  in  astrology.  It  would,  indeed, 
be  difficult  to  detect  any  suggestion  of  ridicule  or  satire 
about  the  poem.  Its  plot  is  a  tragic  one  and  it  seems  writ- 
ten in  all  seriousness.     Even  Patricida,  despite  his  assertion 

*HL  VII  (1746)  p.  137. 

'  C.    Jourdain,    Dissertation    sur 

I'etat   de   la   philosophic 
etc.,   Paris,   1838,  p.   116, 



that  "man  is  not  subject  to  the  stars,"  does  not  doubt  that 
he  will  kill  his  father  conformably  to  the  learned  astrologer's 
prediction,  if  he  himself  continues  to  live.  It  is  only  by 
the  tour  de  force  of  self-slaughter  that  he  hopes  to  cheat 

Even  Archbishop  Hildebert  shows  a  tendency  towards    Hilde- 
astrology  in  other  poems  attributed  to  him;  for  example,    Hermaph- 

in  his  Nativitv  of  Christ  and  in  a  short  poem,  The  Her-   rodite's 

maphrodite,  which  reads  as  follows,  representing  the  fulfill- 
ment of  a  horoscope : 

"While  my  pregnant  mother  bore  me  in  the  womb,  'tis 
said  the  gods  deliberated  what  she  should  bring  forth. 
Phoebus  said,  'It  is  a  boy' ;  Mars,  'A  girl' ;  Juno,  'Neither.' 
So  when  I  was  born,  I  was  a  hermaphrodite.  When  I 
seek  to  die,  the  goddess  says,  'He  shall  be  slain  by  a 
weapon' ;  Mars,  'By  crucifixion' ;  Phoebus,  'By  drowning.' 
So  it  turned  out.  A  tree  shades  the  water ;  I  climb  it ;  the 
sword  I  carry  by  chance  slips  from  its  scabbard ;  I  myself 
fall  upon  it;  my  trunk  is  impaled  in  the  branches;  my 
head  falls  into  the  river.  Thus  I,  man,  woman,  and 
neither,  suffered  flood,  sword,  and  cross."  ^ 

This  poem  has  always  been  greatly  admired  by  students  of 
Latin  literature  for  its  epigrammatic  neatness  and  concise- 
ness, and  has  been  thought  too  good  to  be  the  work  of  a 
medieval  writer,  and  has  been  even  attributed  to  Petronius. 
Another  version,  by  the  medieval  poet,  Peter  Riga,  entitled 
De  ortu  et  morte  pueri  nwnstruosi,  is  longer  and  far  less 
elegant.  Haureau,  however,  regarded  the  Hennaphrodiie 
as  a  medieval  composition,  since  there  are  no  manuscripts 
of  it  earlier  than  the  twelfth  century;  but  he  was  in  doubt 
whether  to  ascribe  it  to  Hildebert  or  to  Matthew  of  Ven- 
dome,  who  in  listing  his  own  poems  mentions  hie  et  haec 
hermaphroditiis  homo." 

*  Migne,    PL    171,     1446.     Juno  other   passages   cited   by   Bouche- 

here  stands  for  the  planet  Venus :  Leclercq,     L'Astrologie     grecque, 

see  Hyginus  II,  42,  "Stella  Vene-  1899,   p.    99,    note   2. 

ris,    Lucifer    nomine,    quam    non-  '].    B.    Haureau,   Les   melanges 

nulli  .Tunonis  esse  dixerunt";  and  poetiques    d' Hildebert,    1882,    pp. 



The  art  of 

of  the  _ 
Ex  peri- 

We  turn  to  the  association  of  the  name  of  Bernard 
Silvester  with  the  superstitious  art  of  geomancy.  It  may 
be  briefly  defined  as  a  method  of  divination  in  which,  bv 
marking  down  a  number  of  points  at  random  and  then  con- 
necting or  canceUing  them  by  Hnes,  a  number  or  figure  is 
obtained  which  is  used  as  a  key  to  sets  of  tables  or  to 
astrological  constellations.  The  only  reason  for  calling  this 
geomancy,  that  is,  divination  by  means  of  the  element  earth, 
would  seem  to  be  that  at  first  the  marks  were  made  and 
figures  drawn  in  the  sand  or  dust,  like  those  of  Archimedes 
during  the  siege  of  Syracuse.  But  by  the  middle  ages,  at 
least,  any  kind  of  writing  material  would  do  as  well.  Al- 
though a  somewhat  more  abstruse  form  of  superstition 
than  the  ouija  board,  it  seems  to  have  been  nearly  as  popular 
in  the  medieval  period  as  the  ouija  board  is  now. 

The  name  of  Bernard  Silvester  is  persistently  associated 
in  the  manuscripts  with  a  work  bearing  the  title  Experimen- 
tariits,  which  seems  to  consist  of  sets  of  geomantic  tables 
translated  from  the  Arabic.  Its  prologue  is  unmistakable, 
but  it  is  less  easy  to  make  out  what  text  should  go  with  it 
and  how  the  text  should  be  arranged.  Sometimes  the  pro- 
logue is  found  alone  in  the  manuscripts,^  and  the  text  which 
accompanies  it  in  others  varies  in  amount  and  sometimes 
is  more  or  less  mixed  up  with  other  similar  modes  of  divina- 
tion. The  prologue  is  sometimes  headed,  Ezndencia  operis 
subseqitentis,  and  regularly  subdivides  into  three  brief  sec- 
tions. The  first,  opening  with  the  words,  Materia  ludus 
libelli,  describes  the  subject-matter  of  the  text  as  "the  effect 
and  efficacy  of  the  moon  and  other  planets  and  of  the  con- 
stellations, which  they  exert  upon  inferior  things."  The 
writer's  opinion  is  that  God  permits  mortals  who  make  sane 
and  sober  inquiry  to  learn  by  subtle  consideration  of  the 

138-47.  In  Digby  53,  a  poetical 
miscellany  of  the  end  of  the  12th 
century,  no  author  is  named  for 
the  "De  Ermaphrodito"  nor  for 
some  other  items  which  appear 
in  the  printed  edition  of  Hilde- 
bert's  poems,  although  Hildebert's 

name  is  attached  to  a  few  pieces 
in   the   MS. 

'  Ashmole  345,  late  14th  cen- 
tury, fol.  64.  Bodleian  Auct.  F.  3. 
13,  fol.  104V.  For  a  summary 
of  the  MSS  see  Appendix  I  at  the 
close  of  this  chapter. 




constellations  many  things  concerning  the  future  and  per- 
sons who  are  absent,  and  that  astrology  also  gives  informa- 
tion concerning  human  character,  health  and  sickness,  pros- 
perity, fertility  of  the  soil,  the  state  of  sea  and  air,  business 
matters  and  journeys.  In  a  second  paragraph,  opening, 
Utilitas  autem  huiiis  lihelH,  the  writer  states  that  the  use 
of  his  book  is  that  one  may  avoid  the  perils  of  which  the 
stars  give  warning  by  penitence  and  prayers  and  vows  to 
God  who,  as  the  astrologer  Albumasar  admits,  controls  the 
stars.  And  through  them  the  Creator  reveals  his  will,  as  in 
the  case  of  the  three  Magi  who  learned  from  a  ?tar  that  a 
great  prophet  had  been  born.  Finally,  in  a  paragraph  of  a 
single  sentence,  which  opens  with  the  words,  Titulus  vero 
talis  est,  we  are  informed  that  the  title  is  the  Experimentarius 
of  Bernard  Silvester,  "not  because  he  was  the  original  author 
but  the  faithful  translator  from  Arabic  into  Latin." 

In  one  manuscript  which  contains  the  Experimentarius  Pictures 
there  is  twice  depicted,  although  the  second  time  in  different 
colors,  a  seated  human  figure  evidently  intended  to  repre- 
sent Bernard  Silvester.  He  is  bearded  and  sits  in  a  chair 
writing,  with  a  pen  in  one  hand  and  a  knife  or  scalpel  in 
the  other.  Neither  miniature  is  in  juxtaposition  to  the  pro- 
logue in  which  Bernard  is  named,  but  in  both  cases  the 
figure  is  accompanied  by  five  lines  of  text,  written  alternately 
in  red  and  blue  colors  and  proclaiming  that  Bernard  Silves- 
ter is  the  translator  and  that  the  number  seven  is  the  basis 
in  this  infallible  book  of  lot-casting.^  It  would  not  be  safe, 
however,  to  accept  this  miniature  as  an  accurate  representa- 
tion of  Bernard,  since  the  manuscript  is  not  contemporary 

of  Ber- 

^  Digby    46,    14th    century,    fol. 
IV,  the  first  line  is  blue,  the  next 
red,   etc. 
An  sors  instabilis  melius  ferat 

ars  docet   eius 
In    septem    stabis    minus    una 

petens  nutnerabis 
Post  septem  sursuni  numerando 

periice  cursum 
Translator  Bernardus  Silvester 

Hie  infallibilis  liber  incipit 
autem  peius. 

At  fol.  25V,  the  same  five  lines 
except  that  the  last  line  is  put 
first,  where  it  would  seem  to  be- 
long, and  is  accordingly  colored 
red  instead  of  blue  as  before, 
the  colors  of  the  other  four  lines 
remaining  the  same  as  before. 



of  a  spy- 
and  Her- 
to  the 

and  it  contains  similar  portraits   of   Socrates   and   Plato, 
Pythagoras,  Anaxagoras,  and  Cicero. 

Both  in  the  manuscript  which  we  have  just  been  de- 
scribing and  another  of  older  date  ^  is  a  picture  of  two  per- 
sons seated.  In  both  manuscripts  one  is  called  Euclid,  in 
the  older  manuscript  only  is  the  other  named,  and  desig- 
nated as  Hermann.  According  to  Black's  description 
Euclid  "uplifts  a  sphere  with  his  right  hand,  and  with  his 
left  holds  a  telescope  through  which  he  is  observing  the 
stars ;  towards  whom  'Hermannus,'  on  the  other  side,  holds 
forth  a  circular  instrument  hanging  from  his  fingers,  which 
is  superscribed  'Astrolabium.'  "  The  picture  in  the  other 
manuscript  is  similar,  but  in  view  of  the  fact  that  they  were 
written  in  the  thirteenth  and  fourteenth  centuries,  the  rod 
along  which,  or  tube  through  which  'Euclid'  is  squinting, 
can  scarcely  be  regarded  as  a  telescope  without  more  definite 
proof  of  the  invention  of  that  instrument  before  the  time 
of  Galileo.  Perhaps  it  is  a  dioptra  ~  or  spying-tube  of  the 
sort  described  by  the  ancients,  Polybius  and  Hero,  and  used 
in  surveying.  But  I  mention  the  picture  for  the  further 
reason  that  Clerval  ^  asserted  a  connection  between  Hermann 
of  Dalmatia,  the  twelfth  century  translator,  and  Bernard 
Silvester,  affirming  that  Hermann  sent  Bernard  his  work  on 
the  uses  of  the  astrolabe  and  that  he  really  translated  the 
Experimentariiis  from  the  Arabic  and  sent  it  to  Bernard 
who  merely  versified  it.  But  we  have  already  proved  that 
it  was  Hermann  the  Lame  of  the  eleventh  century  who 
wrote  on  the  astrolabe  and  that  he  did  so  a  century  before 
Bernard  Silvester.  The  aforesaid  picture  is  clearly  of  him 
and  not  of  Hermann  the  Dalmatian.  And  whether  the  "B" 
at  whose  request  Hermann  wrote  on  the  astrolabe  be  meant 

*Ashmole  304,  13th  century,  fol. 


'  In  this  connection  the  follow- 
ing MS  might  prove  of  interest: 
CU  Trinity  1352,  17th  century, 
neatly  written,  Dioptrica  Practica. 
Fol.  I  is  missing  and  with  it  the 
full    title.       Cap    i,    de    Telesco- 

piorttm  ac  Microscopium  Inven- 
tione,  diversitate,  ct  varictati. 
Quacstio  I,  Quid  sunt  Tclescopia 
et  quomodo  ac  quando  inventa. 
After  fol.  90  is  a  single  leaf  of 

'Clerval    (1895),    pp.    169,    190- 


for  Berengarius  or  Bernard,  it  certainly  cannot  be  meant 
for  Bernard  Silvester,  who  was  not  bom  yet. 

Apparently  the  text  proper  of  the  Experiment arius  opens  Text 
with  the  usual  instructions  of  geomancies  for  the  chance  ^^^^  • 
casting  of  points  and  drawing  of  lines.  The  number  of  mentarius. 
points  left  over  as  a  result  of  this  procedure  is  used  as  a 
guide  in  finding  the  answer  to  the  question  which  one  has 
in  mind.  In  a  preliminary  table  are  listed  28  subjects  of 
inquiry  such  as  life  and  death,  marriage,  imprisonment, 
enemies,  gain.  One  turns  to  the  topic  in  which  one  is  in- 
terested and,  according  as  the  number  of  points  obtained 
by  chance  is  over  or  under  seven,  reckons  forward  or  back- 
ward that  many  times  from  the  number  opposite  his  theme 
of  inquiry,  or,  if  exactly  seven  points  were  left  over, 
takes  the  number  of  the  theme  of  inquiry  as  he  finds  it. 
In  one  manuscript  the  new  number  thus  obtained  is  that 
of  the  "Judge  of  the  Fates"  to  whom  one  should  next 
turn.  There  are  28  such  judges,  whose  names  are  the 
Arabic  designations  for  the  28  divisions  of  the  circle  of  the 
zodiac  or  mansions  of  the  moon,  which  spends  a  day 
in  each  of  them.^  A  page  is  devoted  to  each  judge,  under 
whose  name  are  twenty-eight  lines  containing  as  many  re- 
sponses to  the  twenty-eight  subjects  of  inquiry.  The  in- 
quirer selects  a  line  corresponding  to  his  number  of  points 
and  the  tables  are  so  arranged  that  he  thus  always  receives 
the  answer  which  fits  his  inquiry.  But  most  of  the  manu- 
scripts, instead  of  at  once  referring  the  inquirer  to  his 
Judge  as  we  have  described,  insert  other  preliminary  tables 
in  which  he  is  first  referred  to  a  planet  and  then  to  a  day 
of  the  moon.  This  unnecessarily  indirect  and  complicated 
system  is  probably  intended  to  mystify  the  reader  and  to 
emphasize  further  the  supposedly  astrological  basis  of  the 

^  These  28  Judges,  or  mansions  thia,  Althare,  Albuza,  Alcoreten, 
of  the  moon,  are  seldom  spelled  Arpha,  Alana,  Asionet,  Algaphar, 
twice  alike  in  the  MSS,  but  are  Asavenu,  Alakyal,  Alcalu,  Aleutn, 
somewhat  as  follows  :  Almazene,  Avaadh,  Avelde,  Cathateue,  Eada- 
Anatha,  Albathon,  Arthura,  Ado-  bula,  Eadatauht,  Eadalana,  Alga- 
ran,  Almusan,  Atha,  Avian,  Ana-  falmar,  Algagafalui. 


procedure,  whereas  it  is  in  reality  purely  a  matter  of  lot- 

Two  Now  in  most  of  the  manuscripts  which  I  have  examined 


of  the  28      there  are  two  versions  of  these  twenty-eight  pages  of  Judges 

judges.         Qf  ^j^g  Fates,  worded  differently,  although  the  corresponding 

lines  always  seem  to  answer  the  same  questions  and  apply 

to  the  same  topics  of  inquiry  as  before.    In  the  version  which 

comes  first,  for  example,  the  first  line  under  the  first  Judge, 

Almazene  or  the  belly  of  Aries,  is 

Tuum  indumentum  durabit  tempore  longo 
while  in  the  second  version  the  same  line  reads, 

Hoc  ornamentum  decus  est  et  fama  ferentum} 
Both  versions  seem  to  be  regarded  as  the  Experimentarius 
of  Bernard  Silvester,  for  in  the  manuscripts  where  they 
occur  together  the  first  usually  follow's  its  prologue,  while 
the  second  is  preceded  by  his  picture  and  the  line.  Trans- 
lator Bernardus  Silvesterr  In  one  manuscript  ^  the  pro- 
logue is  immediately  followed  by  the  second  version  and 
the  first  set  of  Judges  does  not  occur.  In  some  manu- 
scripts,^ however,  the  second  version  occurs  without  the 
first  and  without  the  prologue,  in  which  cases,  I  think,  there 
is  nothing  to  indicate  that  it  is  by  Bernard  Silvester  or  a 
part  of  the  Experimentarius.  The  first  version  ends  in  sev- 
eral manuscripts  with  the  words,  Explicit  libellus  de  constel- 
lationibus  ^  rather  than  some  such  phrase  as  Explicit  Ex- 
perimentarius.    Furthermore  in  some  manuscripts  where  it 

^  In  the   MSS,   which  are   very  Bernardus    Silvester." 

carelessly     and      often      slovenly  *  Sloane  3554,  fol.  13V-. 

written,  the  wording  of  these  lines  *  Ashmole   342,   early    14th    cen- 

varies   a   good   deal,    for   instance,  tury,  1 2. 

in  Digby  46,  fol.  iir,  "Sum  {sic)  Ashmole  399,  late  13th  century, 

monumentum      durabit      tempore  fols.   54-8. 

longo,"    and    in   CU   Trinity    1404  Royal   12-C-XII,   fols.   108-23. 

(II),    fol.   2r,    "Hoc  ornamentum  CU    Trinity    1404  (II),    14- 15th 

est   et   fama  parentum."  century,    fols.   2-16. 

*  Digby   46,    fol.    25V ;    in    Ash-  Some  of  these  MSS  I  have  not 

mole    304   the    corresponding   leaf  seen. 

has    been    cut    out,    probably    for  °  Digby   46,    fol.    24V ;    Ashmole 

the  sake  of  the  miniature;  Sloane  304,    fol.    i6v;    Sloane    3857,    fol. 

3857,    fol.    181V,  omits  the  picture  i8ov. 
but    has    the    phrase,    "Translator 




occurs  alone  this  first  set  of  Judges  is  called  the  book  of 
Alchandiandus  or  Alkardianus.^  He  may,  however,  have 
been  the  Arabic  author  and  Bernard  his  translator,  and  the 
liher  alkardiani  phylosophi  opens  in  at  least  one  manuscript 
with  words  appropriate  to  the  title,  Expcrhnentarms ,  "Since 
everything  that  is  tested  by  experience  is  experienced  either 
for  its  own  sake  or  on  some  other  account."  - 

There  are  so  many  treatises  of  this  type  in  medieval  Other 
manuscripts  and  they  are  so  frequently  collected  in  one  divination 
codex  that  they  are  liable  to  be  confused  with  one  another. 
Thus  in  two  manuscripts  a  method  of  divination  ascribed 
to  the  physician  of  King  Amalricus  ^  is  in  such  juxtaposi- 
tion to  the  Experimentarius  that  Macray  takes  it  to  be  part 
of  the  Experimentarius,  while  the  catalogue  of  the  Sloane 
Manuscripts  combines  the  two  as  "a  compilation  'concerning 
the  art  of  Ptolemy.'  "  Macray  also  includes  in  the  Experi- 
mentarius a  Praenostica  Socratis  Basilei,  which  is  of  fre- 
quent occurrence  in  the  manuscripts,  and  other  treatises  on 
divination  which  are  either  anonymous  or  ascribed  to 
Pythagoras  and,  judging  from  the  miniatures  prefixed  to 
them,  to  Anaxagoras  and  Cicero,  who  thus  again  is  appro- 
priately punished  for  having  written  a  work  against  divina- 
tion. I  doubt  if  these  other  modes  of  divination  are  parts 
of  the  Experimentarius,  which  often  is  found  without  them, 
as  are  some  of  them  without  it.  But  they  are  so  much  like  it 
in  general  form  and  procedure  that  we  may  consider  them 
now,  especially  as  they  are  of  such  dubious  date  and  author- 
ship that  it  would  be  difficult  to  place  them  more  exactly. 

^Additional  15236,  English  hand 
of  I3-I4th  century,  fols.  i30-52r, 
"libellus  Alchandiandi" ;  BN  7486, 
14th  century,  fol.  30V,  "Incipit 
liber  alkardiani  phylosophi.  Cum 
omne  quod  experitur  sit  experien- 
dum  propter  se  vel  propter  ali- 
ud.  .  .  ."  And  see  above,  the 
latter  pages  of   Chapter  30. 

^  See  the  preceding  note. 

'  Sloane  3554,  fol.  i- ;  Digby  46, 
fols.  3r-5v,  and  fol.  gor.  But  in 
both  MSS  it  precedes  the  prologue 

of  the  Experimentarius.  Macray 
was  probably  induced  to  regard 
everything  in  Digby  46  up  to  fol. 
92r  as  Experimentarius  by  the  pic- 
ture of  Bernard  Silvester  which 
occurs  at  fol.  iv  with  the  accom- 
panying five  lines  stating  that  he 
is  the  translator  of  "this  infallible 
book."  But  the  picture  is  prob- 
ably misplaced,  since  it  occurs 
again  at  fol.  25V  before  the  second 
version  of  the  28  Judges. 



of  the 
of  King 




The  treatise  which  is  assigned  to  the  physician  of  King 
Amalricus  and  which  is  said  to  have  been  composed  in 
memory  of  that  monarch's  great  victory  over  the  Saracens 
and  Turks  in  Egypt,  obtains  its  key  number  by  revolution 
of  a  wheel  ^  rather  than  by  the  geomantic  casting  of  points, 
and  introduces  a  trifle  more  of  astrological  observance.  If 
on  first  applying  the  inquirer  receives  an  unfavorable  rep]y, 
he  may  wait  for  thirty  days  and  try  again,  but  after  the 
third  failure  he  must  desist  entirely.  **It  is  not  allowed  to 
inquire  concerning  one  thing  more  than  three  times."  The 
twenty-eight  subjects  of  inquiry  are  divided  in  groups  of 
four  among  the  seven  planets,  and  the  inquirer  is  told  to 
return  on  the  weekday  named  after  the  planet  under  which 
his  query  falls.  On  the  day  set  the  astrologer  must  further 
determine  with  the  astrolabe  when  the  hour  of  the  same 
planet  has  arrived,  and  not  until  then  may  the  divination  by 
means  of  the  wheel  take  place,  as  a  result  of  which  the  in- 
quirer is  directed  as  before  to  one  of  28  Judges  who  in  this 
case,  however,  are  said  to  be  associated  with  mansions  of 
the  sun  ^  rather  than  moon.  At  the  close  of  the  treatise 
of  the  physician  of  King  Amalricus  in  both  manuscripts  ® 
that  I  have  examined  is  inserted  some  sceptical  person's 
opinion  to  the  effect  that  these  methods  of  divination  are 
subtle  trifles  which  are  not  utterly  useless  as  a  means  of  di- 
version, but  that  faith  should  not  be  placed  in  them.  The 
more  apparent  the  devil's  nets  are,  concludes  the  passage, 
the  more  wary  the  human  bird  will  be. 

In  the  Prenostica  or  Prenosticon  Socratis  Basilei — 
Prognostic  of  Socrates  the  King — a  number  from  one  to 
nine  is  obtained  by  chance  either  by  geomancy  or  by  re- 
volving a  wheel  on  which  an  image  of  "King  Socrates" 
points  his  finger.  The  inquirer  then  consults  a  table  where 
sixteen  questions  are  so  arranged  in  compartments  desig- 

*  Inset  inside  the  thick  cover  of 
Digby  46  are  two  interlocking 
wooden  cogwheels  for  this  pur- 
pose, with  28  and  13  teeth  re- 

^  In  Digby  46  diagrams  show- 
ing the  number  of  stars  in  each 
are  given. 

^  Digby  46,  f  ol.  5v ;  Sloane  3554, 
fol.    I2r. 


nated  by  letters  of  the  alphabet  that  each  question  is  found 
in  two  compartments.  Say  that  the  inquirer  finds  his  ques- 
tion in  A  and  E.  He  then  consults  another  table  where  144 
names  of  birds,  beasts,  fish,  stones,  herbs,  flowers,  cities,  and 
other  "species"  are  arranged  in  nine  rows  opposite  the  num- 
bers from  one  to  nine  and  in  sixteen  columns  headed  by  the 
sixteen  possible  pairs  of  letters  such  as  the  AE  of  our  in- 
quirer. Looking  in  the  row  corresponding  to  his  number 
and  the  column  AE  he  obtains  a  name.  He  must  then  find 
this  name  in  a  series  of  twelve  circular  tables  where  the 
aforesaid  names  are  listed  under  their  proper  species,  each 
table  containing  twelve  names.  He  now  is  referred  on  to 
one  of  sixteen  kings  of  the  Turks,  India,  Spain,  Francia, 
Babylonia,  the  Saracens,  Romania,  etc.  Under  each  king 
nine  answers  are  listed  and  here  at  last  under  his  original 
number  obtained  by  lot  he  finds  the  appropriate  answer.^ 

In  the  Prenostica  Pitagorice  we  are  assured  that  we  may  Further 
rest  easy  as  to  the  integrity  of  the  Catholic  Faith  being  ob-   3iv?nat?on 
served,  "for  that  does  not  happen  of  necessity  which  human 
caution  forewarned,  can  avoid."     It  answers  any  one  of  a 
list  of  thirty-six  questions  by  means  of  a  number  obtained 
by  chance  between  one  and  twelve.    The  inquirer  is  referred 

*  I  have  described  the  Prenos-  cratis  basilii."  Preceding  it  are 
tica  as  it  is  found  in  Digby  46,  similar  methods  of  divination, 
fol.  4or-,  with  a  picture  at  fol.  beginning  at  fol.  i2iv  (or  clxxxxii 
41V  of  Socrates  seated  and  Plato  or  col.  440),  "Si  vis  operare  de 
standing  behind  him  and  point-  geomancia  dehes  facere  quatuor 
ing.  Ashmole  304  has  the  same  lineas.  .  .  ."  Evidently  the  fol- 
text  and  picture;  and  the  text  is  lowing  is  also  our  treatise:  CU 
practically  the  same  in  Sloane  Trinity  1404  (IV),  I4-I5th  cen- 
3857,  fols.  196-207,  "Documentum  tury,  Iste  liber  dicitur  Rota  for- 
subscquentis  considerationis  quae  tune  in  qua  sunt  16  qiiestiones 
Socratica  dicitur."  In  Additional  determinate  in  pronosticis  sen- 
15236,  I3-I4th  century,  fols.  gsr-  tentiat'.  (sic)  basilici  que  sub  se- 
io8r,  the  inquirer  is  first  directed  quentibus  inscribuntur  et  sunt  12 
to  implore  divine  aid  and  repeat  spere  et  16  Reges  pro  iudicibus 
a  Paternoster  and  Ave  Maria^  and  constittiti  et  habent  determinare 
some  details  are  slightly  different,  veritatem  de  questionibus  ante- 
hut  the  general  method  is  iden-  dictis  cum  auxilio  sortium.  James 
tical.  The  final  answers  are  given  (HI,  423)  adds,  "The  questions, 
in  French.  In  BN  7420A,  14th  tables,  spheres,  and  Kings  fol- 
century,  fol.  I26r-  (or  clxxxxvi,  low.  .  .  ."  Our  treatise  is  also 
or  col.  451),  "Liber  magni  solacii  listed  in  John  Why tef eld's  1389 
socratis  philosophi"  is  also  essen-  catalogue  of  MSS  in  Dover 
tially  the  same ;  indeed,  its  open-  Priory,  No.  409,  fol.  192V,  Pronos- 
ing   words    are,    "Pronosticis   So-  tica  socratis  phi. 



tal char- 
acter of 

other  geo- 

to  one  of  36  birds  whose  pictures  are  drawn  in  the  margins 
with  twelve  lines  of  answers  opposite  each  bird.  Other 
schemes  of  divination  found  with  the  Experimentariiis  in 
some  manuscripts  differ  from  the  foregoing  only  in  the  num- 
ber of  questions  concerning  which  inquiry  can  be  made,  the 
number  of  Judges  and  the  names  given  them,  the  number  of 
lines  under  each  Judge,  and  the  number  of  intermediate 
directory  tables  that  have  to  be  consulted  before  the  final 
Judge  is  reached.  As  Judges  we  meet  the  twelve  sons  of 
Jacob,  the  thirty-six  decans  or  thirds  of  the  twelve  signs, 
and  another  astrological  group  of  twenty  made  up  of  the 
twelve  signs,  seven  planets,  and  the  dragon.^ 

In  one  manuscript  ^  the  directions  for  consulting  this 
last  group  of  Judges  are  given  under  the  heading,  Dociimen- 
tiim  experivienti  retrogradi,  which  like  Bernard's  Experi- 
mentariiis suggests  the  experimental  character  of  the  art  of 
geomancy  or  the  arts  of  divination  in  general.  Later  we 
shall  hear  Albertus  Magnus  in  the  Speculum  astronomiae 
call  treatises  of  aerimancy,^  pyromancy  ,and  hydromancy,  as 
well  as  of  geomancy  "experimental  books." 

Geomancies  are  of  frequent  occurrence  in  libraries  of 
medieval  manuscripts.'*  Many  are  anonymous  ^  but  others 
bear  the  names  of  noted  men  of  learning.  The  art  must  have 
had  great  currency  among  the  Arabs,^    for  not  only  are 

^  These  tracts  of  divination  are 
found  in  Digby  46,  fols.  52r-92r, 
and  partially  in  Ashmole  304, 
Sloane  3857,  and   Sloane  2472. 

*  Sloane   2472,    fol.   22r. 

*  The  word  seems  to  be  regu- 
larly so  spelled  in  the  middle  ages, 
although  modern  dictionaries  give 
only  aeromancy. 

*  For  instance,  at  Munich  the 
following  MSS  are  devoted  to 
works  of  geomancy:  CLM  192, 
196,  240,  242,  276,  392,  398,  421, 
436,  456,  458,  483,  489,  541.  547,  588, 
671,  677,  905,  1 1 998,  24940,  26061, 

*  For  instance,  Amplon.  Quar- 
to 174,  14th  century,  fol.  120, 
Geomancia  parva:  Qu.  345,  14th 
century,  fols.  47-50,  geomancia 
cum  theorica  sua;  Qu.  361,   I4tb 

centurv,  fols.  62-79,  five  treatises ; 
Qu.  365,  fol.  83;  Qu.  368,  14th 
century,  fol.  30;  Qu.  374,  14th 
century,  fols.  1-60;  Qu.  277,  14th 
century,  fols.  70-76;  Amplon. 
Octavo  88,  14th  century,  fols.  5- 
10;  Amplon.  Duodecimo  17,  14th 
century,  fols.  27-35.  Harleian 
671;  4166,  15th  century;  Royal 
12-C-XVI,  15th  century;  Sloane 
887.  i6th  century,  fols.  3-59;  1437, 
i6th  century;  2186,  17th  century; 
3281,  I3-I4th  century,  fols.  25-34, 
"Liber  28  iudicum"  or  "Liber  par- 
carum  siz'c  fatorum." 

^  Additional  9600  is  a  geomancy 
in  Aral>ic,  and  Addit.  8790,  La 
Geomantia  del  S.  Christoforo  Cat- 
ianeo,  Genonese.  I'inz'entore  di 
dctta    Ahnadel   Arabico. 




treatises  current  in  Latin  under  such  names  as  Abdallah/ 
Albedatus,^  Alcherius,^  Alkindi,^  and  Alpharinus,^  but  al- 
most every  prominent  translator  of  the  time  seems  to  have 
tried  his  hand  at  a  geomancy.  In  the  manuscripts  we  find 
geomancies  attributed  to  Gerard  of  Cremona,**  Plato  of 
Tivoli,'^  Michael  Scot,*  Hugo  Sanctelliensis,^  William  of 
*  Vatic.  Urbin.  Lat.  262,  I4-I5th      borrowed? 

century,  Abdallah  gcomantiae 
fragmenta.  Amplon.  Folio  389, 
14th  century,  fols.  56-99,  Geo- 
mantia  Abdalla  astrologi  cum 
figuris;  perhaps  the  same  as  Math. 
47,  Geomuncia  cum  egregiis  tabu- 
lis  Abdana  astrologi,  in  the  1412 

Amplon.  Quarto  380,  early  14th 
century,  fols.  1-47,  geomancia  op- 
tima Abdallah  filii  AH. 

Magliabech.  XX-13,  15th  cen- 
tury, fols.  208-10,  "II  libra  di 
Zaccheria  ebrio  il  quale  compuose 
le  tavole  de  giudici.  Disse  il 
famiglio  di  Abdalla.  .  .  ." 

'  Amplon,  Octavo  88,  early  14th 
century,  fols.  1-5,  geomancia  Al- 
bedato  attributa,  fols.  107-10,  Al- 
bedatii  de  sortilegiis. 

CLM  398,  14th  century,  fols. 
106-14,  "Belio  regi  Persarum 
vates  Albedatus  salutem." 

BN  7486,  14th  century,  fol.  46r-, 
Albedaci  philosophi  ars  punc- 
torum:  here  the  work  is  ad- 
dressed to  "Delyo  regi  Persarum" 
and  is  said  to  be  translated  by 
"Euclid,  king  and  philosopher." 
It  immediately  follows  another 
geomancy  by  Alkardianus,  of 
whom  we  have  spoken  elsewhere. 

Berlin  965,  i6th  century,  fol. 
64-,  "Incipit  liber  Albedachi  vatis 
Arabici  de  sortilegiis  ad  Delium 
regem  Persarum  I  Finis  adest  libri 
Algabri  Arabis  de  sortilegiis" ; 
similarly  Amplonius  in  1412  listed 
Math,  8,  "liber  subtilis  valde  Alga- 
bre  geomaniicus  ad  futurorum 

■*  Vienna  5508,  I4-I5th  century, 
fols.  200-201V,  "Ego  Alcherius  in- 
ter mutta  prodigia  I  nudus  postea 
quolibet  subhumetur."  Is  this  the 
Alcherius  mentioned  by  Mrs. 
Merrifield  (1849)  I,  54-6  as  copy- 
ing in  1409  "Experiments  with 
Color,"  from  a  MS  which  he  had 

*CLM  489,  i6th  century,  fols. 
207-22,  Alchindi  libellus  de  geo- 
mantia;  also  in  CLM  392,  15th 

"Arundel  66,  isth  century,  fols. 
269-77,  "Liber  sciencie  arienalis 
de  judicis  gcomansie  ab  Alpharino 
filio  Abrahe  Judeo  editus  et  a 
Platone  de  Hebreico  sermone  in 
Latinum    translatus." 

CLM  1 1998,  anno  1741,  fol. 
209-,  Alfakini  Arabici  filii  quaes- 
tiones  geomantiae  a  Platone  in 
Latinum  translatae  anno  1533 
(which   cannot   be   right). 

CU  Magdalene  College  27  (F. 
4.27,  Haenel  2^)  late  14th  cen- 
tury, fols.  I20-I2SV,  "Incipit  liber 
arenalis  scicncie  ab  alfarino 
abizarch  editus  et  a  Platone 
Tiburtino  de  Arabico  in  latinum 

*  Bologna  University  Library 
449,  14th  century,  "Geomantia  ex 
Arabico  translata  per  Magistrum 
Gerardum  de  Cremona.  Si  quis 
partem  geomanticam  I  multum 
bonum  signi." 

Magliabech    XX-13,    fol.    61. 

Digby  74,  i5-i6th  century,  fols. 

Sloane  310,  15th  century. 

Amplon.  Quarto  373,  14th  cen- 
tury, fols.  1-3 1,  with  notes  at 

CLM  276,  14th  century,  fols. 
69-75,  Geomantia  mag.  Gerardi 
Cremonensis  lOb  aU>ctoribus  via 
astronomice  conposita. 

Also  printed  under  the  title 
Geomantia  astronomica  in  H.  C. 
Agrippa,    Opera,   1600,   pp.   540-53. 

^  See  note  5. 

*CLM  489,  i6th  century,  fol. 
174-,  Michaelis  Scoti  geomantia. 

'MSS  of  Hugo's  geomancy 
have  already  been  listed  in  chap- 
ter 38,  p.  86. 



Moerbeke,^  William  de  Saliceto  of  Piacenza,^  and  Peter 
of  Abano,'  and  even  to  their  medical  confrere  and  contem- 
porary, Bernard  Gordon,  who  is  not  usually  classed  as  a 
translator.*  Some  of  these,  however,  were  translator? 
from  the  Greek  or  the  Hebrew  rather  than  Arabic,  and  some 
of  the  geomantic  treatises  in  the  manuscripts  claim  an  origin 
from  India.'"'  But  a  Robert  or  Roger  Scriptoris  who  com- 
piled a  geomancy  towards  the  close  of  the  medieval  period 
thinks  first  among  his  sources  of  "the  Arabs  of  antiquity 
and  the  wise  modems,  William  of  Moerbeke,  Bartholomew 
of  Parma,  Gerard  of  Cremona,  and  many  others."  ®  These 
other  geomancies  are  not  necessarily  like  the  Experimen- 
tarius  of  Bernard  Silvester  ^  and  we  shall  describe  another 

*CLM  588,  14th  century,  fols. 
6-58,  "Incipit  peomantia  a  fratre 
gilberto  (?)  de  morbeca  domini 
pape  penitentionario  compilata 
quatn  magistro  arnulfo  nepoti  suo 

CLM  905,  15th  century,  fols. 
1-64,  Wilheltni  de  Morbeca  Geo- 

Wolfenbiittel  2725,  14th  cen- 
tury, "Geomantia  fratris  Guil- 
hehni  dc  Marbeta  pcnitenciarii 
domini  pape  dedicata  Arnulpho 
nepoti.  Anno  dofnini  millesimo 
ducentcsimo  octuagcsimo  octavo. 
Hoc  opus  est  scientie  geomancie." 

Vienna  5508,  I4-I5th  century, 
fol.  I-,  "Liber  geomancie  editus 
a  fratre  Wilhelmo  de  Marbeta. 
Omnipotcns  sempiterne  Deus  I 
quercnti  vel  in  brevi." 

Amplon.  Quarto  373,  14th  cen- 
tury, fols.  39-118;  Qu.  377,  62- 
67;   Qu.  384. 

For  MSS  in  Paris  see  HL  21; 

Magliabech.  XX-13,  isth  cen- 
tury,   fol.    101-,    in    Italian. 

CU  Trinity  1447,  14th  century, 
fols.  i-ii2r,  a  French  translation 
made  by  Walter  the  Breton  in 
1347.  He  states  that  Moerbeke's 
Latin  version  was  translated  from 
the  Greek. 

*  Magliabech,  XX-13,  I5th  cen- 
tury, fol.  210-,  "del  detto  ^acheria 
Albigarich,"  translated  from  He- 
brew    into     Latin     by     "maestro 


'CLM  392,  15th  century;  489, 
i6th  century,  fol.  222,  Petri  de 
Abano  Patavini  modus  iudicandi 
quaestiones;  in  both  MSS  ac- 
companied by  the  geomancy  as- 
cribed to  Alkindi.  Printed  in 
Italian  translation,  1542. 

*BN  I53S3,  i3-i4th  century, 
fol.  87-,  Archanum  magni  Dei 
revelatum  Tholomeo  regi  Arabum 
de  reductione  geomancie  ad  or- 
bem,  tr.  de  Bernard  de  Gordon, 
datee  de  1295. 

°  Harleian  2404,  English  hand, 
two  geomancies    (indeana). 

Sloane  314,  15th  century,  fols. 
2-64,  Latin  and  French,  "Et  est 
Gremmgi  Indyana,  que  vacatur 
aiia  astronomic  quam  fecit  unus 
sapientum   Indie." 

With  the  opinions  of  Siger  of 
Brabant  in  1277  was  condemned  a 
book  of  geomancy  which  opened 
"Estimavcrunt  Indi" ;  Chart.  Univ. 
Paris,   I.   543. 

CU  Magdalene  College  27  (F. 
4.  27),  late  14th  century,  fols.  72- 
88,  "Hec  est  geomantia  Indiana." 

*  Sloane  3487,  15th  century, 
fols.  2-193,  Geomantia  Ra.  Scrip- 
toris. fol.  2r,  "...  arabcs  anti- 
quissimi  et  sapientes  moderni 
Guillelmus  de  morbeca,  Bartholo- 
meus  de  Parma,  Gerardus  Cre- 
m^onensis,  et  alii  plures." 

*  A  geomancy  by  Ralph  of 
Toulouse,   however,   preserved   in 


sort  when  we  come  to  speak  of  Bartholomew  of  Parma  in 
a  later  chapter. 

In  the  fifteenth  century  such  intellectual  statesmen  as  Interest oi 
Humphrey,  Duke  of  Gloucester,  and  Henry  VH  of  England  anddSg" 
displayed  an  interest  in  geomancy,  judging  from  a  manu-  in  the  art. 
script  de  luxe  of  Guido  Bonatti's  work  on  astrology  which 
was  made  for  Henry  VH  and  contains  a  picture  of  him,  and 
also  Plato's  translation  of  the  geomancy  of  Alpharinus  and 
geomantic  "tables  of  Humphrey,  duke  of  Gloucester."  ^ 
The  interest  of  the  clergy  in  this  superstitious  art  is  attested 
not  only  by  the  translation  of  such  a  person  as  William  of 
Moerbeke,  who  was  papal  penitentiary  and  later  archbishop 
of  Corinth,  but  by  a  geomancy  which  we  find  in  two  fifteenth 
century  manuscripts  written  by  Martin,  an  abbot  of  Burgos, 
at  the  request  of  another  abbot  of  Paris,^  Treatises  on 
geomancy  continue  to  be  found  in  the  manuscripts  as  late  as 
the  eighteenth  century,  that  of  Gerard  of  Cremona  espe- 

a  14th  century  MS,  has,  like  Ber-  compilatus   per    magistrum   Mar- 

nard's,    the    four    pages    of    key  tinum    Hispanum   phisicutn   abba- 

followed      by      the      twenty-eight  tern  de   Cernatis  in  ecclesia   Vur- 

pages    of    "judges    of    the    fates,"  gensi  quam   composuit  ad  preces 

from     "Almatene"     to     "Algaga-  nobilis     et     discreti    viri     domini 

lauro."       Berlin     969,     fol.     282-,  Archimbaldi    abbatis    sancti    As- 

"Divinaciones      magistri      RadulU  teensis  ac  canonici  Parisiensis." 
de  Tolosa."  Ashmole     360-II,     fols.     15-44, 

^Arundel  66  (see  above,  p.  119,  Explicit  as  above  except  "Bur- 
note  s)  ;  the  portrait  of  Henry  is  gensi,"  "Archtbaldi/'  and  "Astern." 
at  fol.  201,  at  fols.  277V-87,  Also  by  the  listing  of  geoman- 
"Tabulae  Humfridi  Ducts  Gljiw-  cies  in  the  medieval  catalogues  of 
cestriae  in  judiciis  artis  geoman-  monastic  libraries.  See  James, 
sie."  Libraries      of     Canterbury     and 

*  Corpus    Christi    190,    fols.    11-  Dover, 
52,     "Explicit     liber     Geomancie 



Digby  46,  14th  century,  fols.  7V-39V. 
Ashmole  304,  13th  century,  fols.  2r-30v. 
Sloane  3857,  17th  century,  fols.  164-95. 

These  three  MSS  are  much  alike  both  in  the  Experimen- 
tariiis  proper  and  the  other  tracts  of  divination  which  ac- 
company it.  Digby  46  has  more  of  them  than  either  of 
the  others  and  more  pictures  than  Ashmole  304.  Sloane 
3857  has  no  pictures.  I  have  given  the  numbers  of  the  folios 
only  for  the  Experimentarins  proper. 

Sloane  2472,  a  quarto  in  skin  containing  30  leaves,  dated  in  the 
old  written  catalogue  as  late  12th,  but  in  Scott's  printed  Index 
as  14th  century,  fols.  3r-i4v,  the  prologue  and  22  of  28  Judges 
of  the  first  version;  fols.  i5r-2iv,  the  last  part  of  the  method  of 
divination  by  the  36  decans,  "Thoas  Index  X"  to  "Sorab  Index 
XXXVI";  fols.  23r-30v,  divination  by  planets  and  signs  as  in 
Digby  46. 

Sloane  3554,  15th  century,  contains  the  divination  of  the  physician 
of  King  Amalricus,  the  prologue  of  the  Experimentarius,  and 
the  second  set  only  of  28  Judges. 

The  following  MSS  also  contain  only  this  second  ver- 

Ashmole  342,  early  14th  century,  52. 

Ashmole  399,  late  13th  century,  fols.  54-8. 

CU  Trinity  1404  (II),  I4-I5th  century,  fols.  2-16. 

Royal  12-C-XII,  fols.  108-23,  has  the  second  version  of  the  Ex- 
perimentarius but  also  a  few  of  the  other  items  of  divination 
found  in  Ashmole  304. 

The  first  set  of  28  Judges  is  found  without  mention  of 
Bernard  Silvester  in  the  following  MSS : 


BN  7486,  14th  century,  fol.  30V-,    "Incipit  liber  alkardiani  phylo- 

sophi.    Cum  omne  quod  experitur  sit  experiendum  propter  se  vel 

propter  aliud." 
Additional    15236,    I3-I4th   century,    English   hand,    fols.    i30-52r, 

"libellus    Alchandiandi" ;    and    at    fols.    95r-io8r,    Prenosticon 

Socratis  Basilei. 

The  prologue  of  the  Experimentarius  is  found  alone  in 

Ashmole  345,  late   14th  century,  fol.  64,  "Bernardinus." 
Bodleian  (Bernard  2177,  #6)  Auct.  F.  3.  13,  fol.  104V,  "Bernardini 



Was  Hildegard  influenced  by  Bernard  Silvester? — (Bibliographical 
note) — Her  personality  and  reputation — Dates  of  her  works — 
Question  of  their  genuineness — Question  of  her  knowledge  of 
Latin — Subject-matter  of  her  works — Relations  between  science  and 
religion  in  them — Her  peculiar  views  concerning  winds  and  rivers — 
Her  suggestions  concerning  drinking-water — The  devil  as  the  negative 
principle — Natural  substances  and  evil  spirits — Stars  and  fallen  angels ; 
sin  and  nature — Nature  in  Adam's  time ;  the  antediluvian  period — 
Spiritual  lessons  from  natural  phenomena — Hildegard's  attitude  toward 
magic — Magic  Art's  defense — True  Worship's  reply — Magic  properties 
of  natural  substances — Instances  of  counter-magic — Ceremony  with  a 
jacinth  and  wheaten  loaf — Her  superstitious  procedure — Use  of  herbs — 
Marvelous  virtues  of  gems — Remarkable  properties  of  fish — Use  of  the 
parts  of  birds — Cures  from  quadrupeds — The  unicorn,  weasel,  and 
mouse — What  animals  to  eat  and  wear — Insects  and  reptiles — Animal 
compounds — Magic  and  astrology  closely  connected — Astrology  and 
divination  condemned — Signs  in  the  stars — Superiors  and  inferiors ; 
effect  of  stars  and  winds  on  elements  and  humors — Influence  of  the 
moon  on  human  health  and  generation — Relation  of  the  four  humors 
to  human  character  and  fate — Hildegard's  varying  position — Nativities 
for  the  days  of  the  moon — Man  the  microcosm — Divination  in  dreams. 


by  Ber- 
nard Sil- 
vester ? 

The  discussion  of  macrocosm  and  microcosm,  notis  and 
hyle,  by  Bernard  Silvester  in  the  De  mundi  universifate  is 
believed  by  Dr.  Charles  Singer,  in  a  recent  essay  on  "The 
Scientific  Views  and  Visions  of  Saint  Hildegard,"  to  have 
influenced  her  later  writings,  such  as  the  Liber  zntae  nieri- 
torum  and  the  Liber  diznnoriim  operuni.  He  writes  "The 
work  of  Bernard  .  ,  .  corresponds  so  closely  both  in  form, 
in  spirit,  and  sometimes  even  in  phraseology  to  the  Liber 
diznnorum  opcrum  that  it  appears  to  us  certain  that  Hilde- 
gard must  have  had  access  to  it."  ^    Without  subscribing  un- 

^  Singer    (1917)    p.   19. 




reservedly  to  this  view,  we  pass  on  from  the  Platonist  and 
geomancer  of  Tours  to  the  Christian  "sibyl  of  the  Rhine."  ^ 

^  Migne,  Patrologia  Latina,  vol. 
197.  ihis  volume  contains  the 
account  of  Hildegard  in  the  Acta 
Sanctorum,  including  the  Vita 
sanctae  Hildcgardis  auctoribus 
Godefrido  et  Theodorico  nwna- 
chis,  etc. ;  the  Subtilitatum  diver- 
sarum  naturaruni  crcaturarunv 
libri  novcm,  as  edited  by  Darem- 
berg  and  Reuss ;  the  Scivias  and 
the  Liber  divinorum  opcrum  sim- 
plicis  hominis.  I  shall  cite  this 
in  the  following  chapter  simply 
as  Migne  without  repeating  the 
number  of  the  volume. 

Pitra,  Analecta  sacra,  vol.  VIII 
(1882).  This  volume  contains 
the  only  printed  edition  of  the 
Liber  vitae  mcritorutn,  pp.  1-244, 
— Heinemann,  in  describing  a 
thirteenth  century  copy  of  it  (MS 
1053,  S.  Hildegardis  liber  meri- 
torum  vite)  in  1886  in  his  Cata- 
logue of  Wolfenbiittel  MSS, 
was  therefore  mistaken  in  speak- 
ing of  it  as  "unprinted," — an  im- 
perfect edition  of  the  Liber  com- 
positae  medicinae  de  aegritudi- 
num  caiists  signis  atqiic  ciiris,  and 
other  works  by   Hildegard. 

A  better  edition  of  the  last 
named  work  is :  Hildegardis 
causae  et  curae,  ed.  Paulus 
Kaiser,  Leipzig,  Teubner,   1903. 

Earlier  editions  of  the  Subtili- 
tates  were  printed  at  Strasburg 
by  J.  Schott  in  1533  and  1544  as 
follows : 

Physica  S.  Hildegardis  elemen- 
torum  fluniinum  aliquot  Ger- 
maniac  mctcllorum  leguminum 
fructuunt  et  herbarum  arborutn 
et  arbustorunt  piscium  denique 
volatilium  et  animantiunv  terrae 
naturas  et  operationes  IV  libris 
mirabili  experientia  posteritati 
tradens,   Argentorati,    1533. 

Expcrimentarius  medicinae  con- 
linois  Trot  u  lac  curandarum 
aegritudinum  muliebrum  .  .  . 
item  quatuor  Hildegardis  de  ele- 
mentorum  fluminum  aliquot  Ger- 
maniae  metallorum  .  .  .  herbarum 
piscium  et  animantium  terrae 
naturis  et  operationibus,  ed.  G. 
Kraut,  1544, 

F.  A.  Reuss,  De  libris  physicis 
S.  Hildegardis  comtncntatio  his- 
torico-medica,   VViirzburg,    1835. 

F.  A.  Reuss,  Der  heiligen  Hil- 
degard Subtilitatum  diversarum 
naturarutn  creaturarum  libri  no- 
veni,  die  werthvolleste  Urkunde 
deutscher  Natur-  und  HcUkunde 
aus  dem.  Mittelalter.  In  Annalen 
des  Vereins  fUr  Nassau.  Alter- 
thumskunde  und  Geschichtsfor- 
schung,  Bd.  VI,  Heft  i,  Wies- 
baden,  1859. 

Jessen,  C.  in  Sitzb.  Vienna, 
Math,  naturw.  Klasse,  (1862) 
XLV,  i.  97- 

Jessen,  C.  Botanik  in  kultur- 
historischer  Entwickelung,  Leip- 
zig,  1862,  pp.   124-26. 

Jessen,  C.  in  Anzciger  filr 
Kunde  der  deutschen  Vorseit, 
(1875),  p.    175- 

Von  der  Linde,  Die  Hand- 
schriften  der  Kgl.  Landesbibl.  in 
Wiesbaden,   Wiesbaden,    1877. 

Schmelzeis,  J.  Ph.  Das  Leben 
und  Wirken  der  hi.  Hildegardes, 
Freiburg,  1879. 

Battandier,  A.  "Sainte  Hilde- 
garde,  sa  vie  et  ses  oeuvres,"  in 
Revue    des    questions    historiques, 

XXXIII  (1883),  395-425. 

Roth,  F.  W.  E.  in  Zeitsch.  fUr 
kirchl.  Wissenschaft  u.  kirchl. 
Leben,  Leipzig,  IX  (1888),  453. 

Kaiser,  P.  Die  Naturiinssen~ 
schaftliche  Schriftcn  der  hi. 
Hildegard,  Berlin.  1901.  (Schul- 
progratnm  des  Konigsstddtischen 
Gymnasiums  in  Berlin.)  A  pam- 
phlet of  24  pages.  See  also  his 
edition,  mentioned  above,  of  the 
Causae   et   curae. 

Singer,  Clias.  "The  Scientific 
Views  and  Visions  of  Saint 
Hildegard,"  in  Studies  in  the 
History  and  Method  of  Science, 
Oxford,  1917,  pp.  1-55.  Dr. 
Singer  seems  unacquainted  with 
the  above  work  by  Kaiser,  writing 
(p.  2)  "'The  extensive  literature 
that  has  risen  around  the  life  and 
works  of  Hildegard  has  come 
from  the  hands  of  writers  who 
have  shown  no  interest  in  natural 
knowledge."     Yet  see  also 


Her  per-  From  repeated  statements  in  the  prefaces  to  Hildegard's 

^nTre^'^u-  works,  in  which  she  tells  exactly  when  she  wrote  them  and 
tation.  how  old  she  was  at  the  time, — for  not  only  was  she  not 
reticent  on  this  point  but  her  different  statements  of  her  age 
at  different  times  are  all  consistent  with  one  another — it 
is  evident  that  she  was  born  in  1098.  Her  birthplace  was 
near  Sponheim.  From  the  age  of  five,  she  tells  us  in  the 
Scivias,  she  had  been  subject  to  visions  which  did  not  come 
to  her  in  her  sleep  but  in  her  wakeful  hours,  yet  were  not 
seen  or  heard  with  the  eyes  and  ears  of  sense.  During  her 
lifetime  she  was  also  subject  to  frequent  illness,  and  very 
likely  there  was  some  connection  between  her  state  of  health 
and  her  susceptibility  to  visions.  She  spent  her  life  from 
her  eighth  year  in  religious  houses  along  the  Nahe  river, 
and  in  1 147  became  head  of  a  nunnery  at  its  mouth  opposite 
Bingen,  the  place  with  which  her  name  was  henceforth  con- 
nected. She  became  famed  for  her  cures  of  diseases  as  well 
as  her  visions  and  ascetic  life,  and  it  is  Kaiser's  opinion  that 
her  medical  skill  contributed  more  to  her  popular  reputation 
for  saintliness  than  all  her  writings.  At  any  rate  she  be- 
came very  well  known,  and  her  prayers  and  predictions  were 
much  sought  after.  Thomas  Becket,  who  seems  to  have 
been  rather  too  inclined  to  pry  into  the  future,  as  we  shall 
see  later,  wrote  asking  for  "the  visions  and  oracles  of  that 
sainted  and  most  celebrated  Hildegard,"  and  inquiring 
whether  any  revelation  had  been  vouchsafed  her  as  to  the 
duration  of  the  existing  papal  schism.  "For  in  the  days  of 
Pope  Eugenius  she  predicted  that  not  until  his  last  days 
would  he  have  peace  and  grace  in  the  city."  ^  It  is  very 
doubtful  whether  St.  Bernard  visited  her  monastery  and 
called  the  attention  of  Pope  Eugenius  III  to  her  visions, 
but  her  letters  -  show  her  in  correspondence  with  St. 
Bernard  and  several  popes  and  emperors,  with  numerous 

Wasmann,    E.     "Hildegard  von  *  Migne,     28,     citing     Baronius, 

Bingen  als  alteste  deutsche  Natur-  Ann.  1148,  from  Epist.  S.  Thomas, 

forscherin,"   in  Biologisches  Zen-  I,  171. 

tralblatt    XXXHI    (1913)    278-88.  'I  have  noted  one  MS  of  them 

Herwegen    in    the    Kirchl.    Hand-  in  the  British  Museum,  Harleian 

lexicon  (1908),  I,  1970.  1725. 


archbishops  and  bishops,  abbots  and  other  potentates,  to 
whom  she  did  not  hesitate  to  administer  reproofs  and  warn- 
ings. For  this  purpose  and  to  aid  in  the  repression  of 
heresy  she  also  made  tours  from  Bingen  to  various  parts  of 
Germany.  There  is  some  disagreement  whether  she  died  in 
1 179  or  1180.^  Proceedings  were  instituted  by  the  pope  in 
1233  to  investigate  her  claims  to  sainthood,  but  she  seems 
never  to  have  been  formally  canonized.  Gebenon,  a  Cister- 
cian prior  in  Eberbach,  made  a  compendium  from  her 
Scivias,  Liber  divinorum  operimi,  and  Letters,  "because  few 
can  own  or  read  her  works."  ^ 

As  was  stated  above,  we  can  date  some  of  Hildegard's  Dates  of 
works  with  exactness.  In  her  preface  to  the  one  entitled  gardes" 
Scivias  ^  she  says  that  in  the  year  1 141,  when  she  was  forty-  works, 
two  years  and  seven  months  old,  a  voice  from  heaven  bade 
her  commit  her  visions  to  writing.  She  adds  that  she 
scarcely  finished  the  book  in  ten  years,  so  we  infer  that  she 
was  working  at  it  from  1141  to  1150.  This  fits  exactly 
with  what  she  tells  us  in  the  preface  to  the  Liber  vitae 
meritoriim,  which  she  was  divinely  instructed  to  write  in 
1 1 58,  when  she  was  sixty  years  old.  Moreover,  she  says 
that  the  eight  years  preceding,  that  is  from  1151  to  1158, 
had  been  spent  in  writing  other  treatises  which  also  appear 
to  have  been  revealed  in  visions  and  among  which  were 
"siibtilitates  diz'ersaruni  naturarimi  crcaturarimi,"  the  title 
of  another  of  her  works  with  which  we  shall  be  concerned. 
On  the  Liber  vitae  meritorum  she  spent  five  years,  so  it 
should  have  been  completed  by  1163.  In  that  year,  the 
preface  to  the  Liber  divinorum  operuni  informs  us, — and 
the  sixty-fifth  year  of  her  life — a  voice  instructed  her  to 
begin  its  composition,  and  seven  more  years  were  required 
to  complete  it.     This  leaves  undated  only  one  of  the  five 

^  Migne,  84-85,   129-130.  14th  century,  fols.   1-29. 

'CLM   2619,    13th    century,    Ge-  'Early     MSS     of     the     Liber 

benonis   prioris    Cisterc.    in   Eber-  Scivias      simplicis      hominis     are 

bach,    Speculum    futurorum  Palat  Lat.  311,    12th  century,  204 

temporum        sive        Compendium  fols. ;  Merton  160,  early  13th  cen- 

prophetiarum       S.       Hildegardis ;  tury. 
also,   at    Rome,    Bibl.    Alex.    172, 



of  their 

works  by  her  which  we  shall  consider,  namely,  the  Causae 
et  curae,  or  Liber  compositae  medichiae  as  it  is  sometimes 
called,  while  the  Suhtilitates  diversarum  naturarum  crea- 
turanim  bears  a  corresponding  alternative  title,  Liher 
shnplicis  medicinae. 

"Some  would  impugn  the  genuineness  of  all  her  writ- 
ings," says  the  article  on  Hildegard  in  The  Catholic  Ency- 
clopedia, "but  without  sufficient  reason."  ^  Kaiser,  who 
edited  the  Causae  ct  curae,  had  no  doubt  that  both  it  and 
the  Suhtilitates  were  genuine  works.  Recently  Singer  has 
excluded  them  both  from  his  discussion  of  Hildegard's  sci- 
entific views  on  the  ground  that  they  are  probably  spurious, 
but  his  arguments  are  unconvincing.  His  objection  that 
they  are  full  of  German  expressions  which  are  absent  in  her 
other  works  is  of  little  consequence,  since  it  would  be  natural 
to  employ  vernacular  proper  names  for  homely  herbs  and 
local  fish  and  birds  and  common  ailments,  while  in  works 
of  an  astronomical  and  theological  character  like  her  other 
visions  there  would  be  little  reason  for  departing  from  the 
Latin.  Anyway  Hildegard's  own  assertion  in  the  preface 
of  the  Liher  vitae  meritorum  is  decisive  that  she  wrote  that 
work.  The  almost  contemporary  biography  of  her  also 
states  that  she  wrote  "certain  things  concerning  the  nature 
of  man  and  the  elements,  and  of  diverse  creatures,"  ^  which 
may  be  a  blanket  reference  to  the  Causae  et  curae  as  well  as 
the  Suhtilitates  diversarum  naturarum  creaturarum.  The 
records  which  we  have  of  the  proceedings  instituted  by  the 
pope  in  1233  to  investigate  Hildegard's  title  to  sainthood 
mention  both  the  Liber  simplicis  medicinae  and  Liher  com- 
positae medicinae  as  her  works ;  and  later  in  the  same  century 
Matthew  of  Westminster  ascribed  both  treatises  to  her,  stat- 

"  Citing  Preyer,  Gesch.  d. 
deutsch.  Mystik.  1874;  Hauck, 
Kirchcngesch,  Deutsch.  IV,  308 ; 
Von  Winterfeld,  Neue  Archiv, 
XXVII,  297. 

'  Migne,  loi,  quaedam  de  na- 
tura  hotntnis  et  elementorum, 
diversarumque  creaturarum.    Sing- 

er, taking  the  words  as  an  exact 
title  of  one  work,  tries  to  deny 
that  they  apply  even  to  the  Sub- 
tilitatcs:  hut  the  writer  of  the 
I  'ita  is  obviously  simply  giving 
a  general  idea  of  the  subjects 
treated  by  Hildegard. 


ing  further  that  the  Liber  simplicis  medicinae  secundum 
creationem  was  in  eight  books  and  giving  the  full  title  of 
the  other  as  Liber  compositae  medicinae  de  aegritudinum 
causis  signis  et  curis}  Kaiser  has  pointed  out  a  number  of 
parallel  passages  in  it  and  the  Subtilitates,  while  its  intro- 
ductory cosmology  seems  to  me  very  similar  to  that  of 
Hildegard's  other  three  works.  Indeed,  as  we  consider  the 
contents  of  these  five  works  together,  it  will  become  evident 
that  the  same  peculiar  views  and  personality  run  through 
them  all. 

In  the  preface  to  the  Liber  vitae  meritorum  Hildegard  Question 
speaks  of  a  man  and  a  girl  who  gave  her  some  assistance  Lrd's  ^" 
in  writing  out  her  visions.^  From  such  passages  in  her  own  knowledge 
works  and  from  statements  of  her  biographers  and  other 
writers  ^  it  has  been  inferred  that  she  was  untrained  in 
Latin  grammar  and  required  literary  assistance.^  Or  some- 
times it  is  said  that  she  miraculously  became  able  to  speak 
and  write  Latin  without  having  ever  been  instructed  in  that 
language.^  Certainly  the  Causae  et  curae  is  a  lucid,  con- 
densed, and  straightforward  presentation  which  it  would 
be  very  difficult  to  summarize  or  excerpt.  One  must  read 
it  all,  for  further  condensation  is  impossible.  One  can 
hardly  say  as  much  for  her  other  works,  but  a  new  critical 
edition  of  them  such  as  the  Causae  et  curae  has  enjoyed 
might  result  in  an  improvement  of  the  style.  But  our  con- 
cern is  rather  with  their  subject-matter. 

Three  of  the  five  works  which  we  shall  consider  are 
written  out  in  the  form  of  visions,  and  are  primarily  re- 

^  In    what    is    so    far    the    only  testimonio   cuiusdam  puellae  mihi 

known   extant   copy,    a   thirteenth  assistentis  manus  ad  ascribendum 

century      MS      at      Copenhagen,  posui." 

which   Jessen    discovered   in    1859  ^  Vincent    of    Beauvais,    Specu- 

and    called    attention    to    in    1862  liim    historiale,    XXVII,    83,    and 

(Act.  Acad.   Vindob.,  XLV,  i.  97-  other  actors  cited  from  the  Acta 

116),    the    Titulus    is    Causae    et  Sanctorum  in  Migne,  col.   197. 

curae     (shown     in     facsimile     by  *  This  may  be  a  further  explana- 

Singer    (1917),  Plate  5a.)  lion  of  the  use  of  German  words 

^  Pitra,  7-8,   "Et   ego  testimonio  in  some   of   her  works  and   their 

hominis  illius  quem  ut   in  priori-  absence  in   others, 

bus  visionibus  praef  ata  sum  oc-  °  Migne,  17,  19-20,  73-74,  93,  lOl. 
culte  quaesieram  et  inveneram  et 



matter  of 

ligious  in  their  contents  but  contain  considerable  cosmology 
and  some  human  anatomy,  as  well  as  some  allusions  to 
magic  and  astrology.  The  other  two  deal  primarily  with 
medicine  and  natural  science,  and  give  no  internal  indica- 
tion of  having  been  revealed  in  visions,  presenting  their 
material  in  somewhat  didactic  manner,  and  being  divided 
into  books  and  chapters,  like  other  medieval  treatises  on  the 
same  subjects.  As  printed  in  Migne,  the  Subtleties  of 
Different  Natural  Creatures  or  Book  of  Medicinal 
Simples  is  in  nine  books  dealing  respectively  with  plants, 
elements,  trees,  stones,  fish,  birds,  animals,  reptiles,  and 
metals.  In  this  arrangement  there  is  no  plan  evident  ^  and 
it  would  seem  more  logical  to  have  the  books  on  plants  and 
trees  and  stones  and  metals  together.  In  Schott's  edition 
of  1533  the  discussion  of  stones  was  omitted — perhaps 
properly,  since  Matthew  of  Westminster  spoke  of  but  eight 
books — and  the  remaining  topics  were  grouped  in  four  books 
instead  of  eight  as  in  Migne.  First  came  the  elements,  then 
metals,  then  a  third  book  treating  of  plants  and  trees,  and 
a  fourth  book  including  all  sorts  of  animals.^  That  the 
Subtleties  was  a  widely  read  and  influential  work  is  indi- 
cated by  the  number  of  manuscripts  of  it  listed  by  Schmel- 
zeis  and  Kaiser.  Of  the  five  books  of  the  Causae  et  curae 
the  first,  beginning  with  the  creation  of  the  universe,  Hyle, 
the  creation  of  the  angels,  fall  of  Lucifer,  and  so  forth, 
deals  chiefly  with  celestial  phenomena  and  the  waters  of 
the  sea  and  firmament.  The  second  combines  some  discus- 
sion of  Adam  and  Eve  and  the  deluge  with  an  account  of 
the  four  elements  and  humors,  human  anatomy,  and  various 
other  natural  phenomena.^     With  book  three  the  listing  of 

^  It  is,  however,  flie  order  in  at 
least  one  of  the  MSS,  Wolfen- 
biittel  3591,  14th  century,  fols.  i- 
174,  except  that  the  second  book 
is  called  Of  rivers  instead  of, 
Of  elements:  "B.  Hildcgardis 
Physica  scu  liber  subtilitatum  dc 
diversis  crcaturis,  scilicet  f.  2  de 
herbis,  f.  62  de  Huminibiis,  f.  67 
de  arboribus,  f.  90  de  lapidibus 
preciosis,  f.    io6v   de   piscibus,   f. 

120  de  volatilibus,  f.  141  de  ani- 
malibus,  f.  162  de  vermibus,  f. 
168  de   me t alii s." 

"  It  was,  however,  subdivided 
into  three  parts,  treating  respec- 
tively of  fish,  fowl,  and  other  ani- 

'  The  variety  and  confusing  or- 
der of  its  contents  may  be  best 
and  briefly  indicated  by  a  list  of 
chapter    heads    (pp.    33-52)  :     De 


cures   begins   and   German   words   appear   occasionally   in 
the  text. 

So  much  attention  to  the  Biblical  story  of  creation  and  of  Relations 
Adam  and  Eve  as  is  shown  in  the  first  two  books  of  the  science 
Caitsae  et  curae  might  give  one  the  impression  that  Hilde-  ^"4  . 
gard's  natural  science  is  highly  colored  by  and  entirely  sub-  in  them, 
ordinated  to  a  religious  point  of  view.  But  this  is  not  quite 
the  impression  that  one  should  take  away.  A  notable  thing 
about  even  her  religious  visions  is  the  essential  conformity 
of  their  cosmology  and  physiology  to  the  then  prevalent 
theories  of  natural  science.  The  theory  of  four  elements, 
the  hypothesis  of  concentric  spheres  surrounding  the  earth, 
the  current  notions  concerning  veins  and  humors,  are  in- 
troduced with  slight  variations  in  visions  supposed  to  be 
of  divine  origin.  In  matters  of  detail  Hildegard  may  make 
mistakes,  or  at  least  differ  from  the  then  more  generally 
accepted  view,  and  she  displays  no  little  originality  in  giving 
a  new  turn  to  some  of  the  familiar  concepts,  as  in  her 
five  powers  of  fire,  four  of  air,  fifteen  of  water,  and  seven 
of  earth. ^  But  she  does  not  evolve  any  really  new  prin- 
ciples of  nature.  Possibly  it  is  the  spiritual  application  of 
these  scientific  verities  that  is  regarded  as  the  pith  of  the 
revelation,  but  Hildegard  certainly  says  that  she  sees  the 
natural  facts  in  her  visions.  The  hypotheses  of  past  and 
contemporary  natural  science,  somewhat  obscured  or  dis- 
torted by  the  figurative  and  mystical  mode  of  description 
proper  to  visions,  are  embodied  in  a  saint's  reveries  and 

Adae  casu,  de  spermate,  de  con-  de     came,     de     generatione ,     de 

ceptu,    quare    homo    hirsutus    est,  Adae       vivificatione,      de       Adae 

de    reptilibus,    de    volatilibus,    de  prophetia,    de    anintae    infusione, 

piscibus,  de  conceptus  diversitate,  de  Adae  somno,  de  Evae  malitia, 

de    infirmitatibus,   de    contincntia,  de   exilic   Adae,  quare  Eva  prius 

de    inconti>v£ntia,    de    Aegmaticis,  cecidit,  de  diluvio,  quare  filii  Dei, 

de    melanchoUs,    de    melancholice  de   lapidum  gignitione,  de  iri,  de 

morbo,   de   elcmcntorum   commix-  terrae    situ,    quod    homo    constat 

tione,  de  rore,  de  pruina,  de  ne-  de    dementis,    de   Hegmate    diver- 

bula,  quod  quatuor  sunt  elementa  sitate,   de    humoribus,  de   frenesi, 

tantum,    de    anima    et    spiritibus,  de    contractis,    de    stultis,   de   pa- 

de  Adae  creatione,  de  capillis,  de  ralysi. 

interioribus   hominis,   de   auribus,  ^Causae   et    curae,   pp.    20   and 

de  oculis  et  naribus,  quod  in  ho-  30. 
m,ine  sunt   elementa,  de  sanguine. 



ing winds 
and  rivers. 

utilized  in  inspired  revelation.  Science  serves  religion,  it 
is  true,  but  religion  for  its  part  does  not  hesitate  to  accept 

We  cannot  take  the  time  to  note  all  of  Hildegard's 
minor  variations  from  the  natural  science  of  her  time,  but 
may  note  one  or  two  characteristic  points  in  which  her 
views  concerning  the  universe  and  nature  seem  rather  daring 
and  unusual,  not  to  say  crude  and  erroneous.  In  the  Scivias 
she  represents  a  blast  and  lesser  winds  as  emanating  from 
each  of  four  concentric  heavens  which  she  depicts  as  sur- 
rounding the  earth,  namely,  a  sphere  of  fire,  a  shadowy 
sphere  like  a  skin,  a  heaven  of  pure  ether,  and  a  region  of 
watery  air  under  it.^  In  the  Liber  diz'hionim  operum  she 
speaks  of  winds  which  drive  the  firmament  from  east  to 
west  and  the  planets  from  west  to  east.-  In  the  Suhtilitates 
Hildegard  seems  to  entertain  the  strange  notion  that  rivers 
are  sent  forth  from  the  sea  like  the  blood  in  the  veins  of 
the  human  body.^  One  gets  the  impression  that  the  rivers 
flow  up-hill  toward  their  sources,  since  one  reads  that  "the 
Rhine  is  sent  forth  by  the  force  of  the  sea"  '^  and  that 
"some  rivers  go  forth  from  the  sea  impetuously,  others 
slowly  according  to  the  winds." 

Since  Hildegard  lived  on  the  Nahe  or  Rhine  all  her  life 
she  must  indeed  have  been  absorbed  in  her  visions  and 
monastic  life  not  to  have  learned  in  which  direction  a  river 
flows;  and  perhaps  we  should  supply  the  explanation,  which 
she  certainly  does  not  expressly  give  in  the  Subtilitates, 
that  the  sea  feeds  the  rivers  by  evaporation  or  through  sub- 

'Migne,  403-4. 

'Migne,  791-95- 

'Subtilitates,  II,  3  (Migne, 
1212),  Mare  ftumina  emittit  quibus 
terra  irrigatur  vclut  sanguine 
venarum   corpus  hojuinis. 

*  Subtilitates,  II,  5  (Mi^'pe), 
Rhenus  a  viari  impetu  emiititur. 
Singer  (p.  14)  is  so  non-plussed 
by  this  that  he  actually  interprets 
mari  as  the  lake  of  Constance, 
and  asks,  questioning  Hildegard's 
authorship     of     the     Subtilitates, 

"How  could  she  possibly  derive 
all  rivers,  Rhine  and  Danube, 
Meuse  and  Aloselle,  Nahe  and 
Glan,  from  the  same  lake,  as  does 
the  author  of  the  Liber  subtili- 

That  all  waters,  fresh  or  salt, 
came  originally  from  the  sea  is 
asserted  in  the  Sccrctmn  Secre- 
tprum  of  the  Pseudo-Aristotle,  as 
edited  by  Roger  Bacon :  Steele 
(1920),  p.  90. 




terranean  passages.  Perhaps  a  passage  in  the  Causae  et 
curae  may  be  taken  as  a  correction  or  explanation  of  the 
preceding  assertions,  in  which  case  that  work  would  seem 
to  be  of  later  date  than  the  Siibtilitates.  In  it  too  Hildegard 
states  that  "springs  and  rivers"  which  "flow  from  the  sea" 
are  better  in  the  east  than  in  the  west,  but  her  next  sentence 
straightway  adds  that  they  are  salt  and  leave  a  salt  deposit 
on  the  sands  where  they  flow  which  is  medicinal.^  The 
waters  rising  from  the  southern  sea  are  also  spoken  of  by 
her  as  salt.^  Even  in  the  Causae  et  curae  she  speaks  of  the 
water  of  the  great  sea  which  surrounds  the  world  as  form- 
ing a  sort  of  flank  to  the  waters  above  the  firmament.^ 

On  the  subject  of  whether  waters  are  wholesome  to 
drink  or  not  Hildegard  comes  a  trifle  nearer  the  truth  and 
somewhat  reminds  us  of  the  discussions  of  the  same  subject  drinking- 
in  Pliny  and  Vitruvius.*  She  says  that  swamp  water  should 
always  be  boiled,^  that  well  water  is  better  to  drink  than 
spring-water  and  spring-water  than  river  water,  which 
should  be  boiled  and  allowed  to  cool  before  drinking;  ^  that 
rain-water  is  inferior  to  spring-water  '^  and  that  drinking 
snow-water  is  dangerous  to  the  health.^  The  salt  waters 
of  the  west  she  regards  as  too  turbid,  while  the  fresh  waters 
of  the  west  are  not  warmed  sufficiently  by  the  sun  and  should 
be  boiled  and  allowed  to  cool  before  using.^  The  salt 
waters  arising  from  the  south  sea  are  venomous  from  the 
presence  in  them  of  worms  and  small  animals.  Southern 
fresh  waters  have  been  purged  by  the  heat,  but  make  the 

tions con- 

^Causae  et  curae   (1903),  p.  24. 

^Ibid.,  p.  25. 

'Ibid.,  p.  23. 

*See  Vitruvius,  Book  VIII, 
chapters  2-4,  on  "Rain-water," 
"Various  Properties  of  Different 
Waters,"  and  "Tests  of  Good 
Water."  Pliny,  NH,  Book  XXXI, 
chapters  21-23,  on  "The  Whole- 
someness  of  Waters",  "The  Im- 
purities of  Water,"  "Modes  of 
Testing  Water." 

*  Causae  et  curae   (1903),  p.  27. 

Ubid.,  p.  28. 

'  Vitruvius  held  that  rain-water 

was  unusually  wholesome,  but 
Pliny   disputed  this   notion. 

^Causae  et  curae  (1903),  p.  30, 
"si  quis  earn  bibit,  ulcera  et  sca- 
bies in  eo  saepissime  crescunt  ac 
viscera  eius  livore  implentur." 
Pliny  noted  the  belief  that  ice- 
water  and  snow-water  were  un- 
healthy, and  both  he  (XXXVII, 
II)  and  Vitruvius  speak  of  Alpine 
streams  which  cause  diseases  or 
swellings    in   the    throat. 

^Causae  et  curae  (1903),  gp. 


flesh  of  men  fatty  and  of  black  color.^     Hildegard  is  not 
the  first  author  to  advise  the  boiling  of  drinking-water,-  but 
she  certainly  lays  great  stress  on  this  point. 
The  devil  While  the  scheme  of  the  universe  put  forward  by  an- 

ne^ative  cient  and  medieval  science  is,  as  we  have  seen,  on  the  whole 
principle,  adopted  even  in  Hildegard's  most  visionary  writings,  it  is 
equally  true  that  the  religious  interest  is  by  no  means  absent 
from  her  two  works  of  medicine  and  natural  history.  In 
the  first  place,  the  devil  is  a  force  in  nature  which  she  often 
mentions.  Her  opening  the  Causae  et  curac  with  a  dis- 
cussion of  creation — of  course  a  usual  starting-point  with 
the  medieval  scientist — soon  leads  her  to  speak  of  the  fall 
of  Lucifer.  She  has  a  rather  good  theory  that  Lucifer  in 
his  perverse  will  strove  to  raise  himself  to  Nothing,  and 
that  since  what  he  wished  to  do  was  Nothing,  he  fell  into 
nothingness  and  could  not  stand  because  he  could  find  no 
foundation  under  him.^  But  after  the  devil  was  unable  to 
create  anything  out  of  nothing  and  fell  from  heaven,  God 
created  the  firmament  and  sun,  moon,  and  stars  to  show  how 
great  He  was  and  to  make  the  devil  realize  what  glory  he 
had  lost.^  Other  creatures  who  willingly  join  themselves  to 
the  devil  lose  their  own  characteristics  and  become  nothing.^ 
Lucifer  himself  is  not  permitted  to  move  from  Tartarus  or 
he  would  upset  the  elements  and  celestial  bodies,   but   a 

^  Causae  et  curae  (1903),  p.  26.  retrogression   to    Pliny's  view. 

*  Both  Vitruvius  and  Pliny  ^Causae  et  curac  (1903),  p.  i. 
mention  the  practice,  and  the  lat-  Somewhat  similarly  Moses  Mai- 
ter  calls  it  an  invention  of  the  monides,  the  Jewish  philosopher, 
emperor  Nero.  A  note,  however,  who  was  born  thirty-seven  years 
in  Bostock  and  Riley's  transla-  after  Hildegard,  held  that  evil 
tion  of  the  Natural  History  states  was  mere  privation  and  that  the 
that  Galen  ascribed  the  practice  personal  devil  of  scripture  was 
to  Hippocrates  and  that  Aristotle  an  allegorical  representation 
was  undoubtedly  acquainted  with  thereof.  He  also  denied  the  ex- 
it. When  Pliny  goes  on  to  say,  istence  of  demons,  but  considered 
"Indeed,  it  is  generally  admitted  belief  in  angels  as  second  only 
that  all  water  is  more  wholesome  in  importance  to  a  belief  in  God. 
when  it  has  been  boiled,"  another  See  Finkelscherer  (1894)  pp.  40- 
translator's  note  adds,  "This  is  51 ;  Mischna  Commentary  to 
not  at  all  the  opinion  at  the  Aboda-zara,  IV,  7;  Levy  (1911) 
present   day,"   that   is,    1856.     But  89-90. 

apparently  the  progress  of  medi-  *  Causae  et  curae   (1903),  p.  ll. 

cal    and    biological    science    since  ^  Ibid.,  p.  5. 
1856   has   been    in    this    respect   a 




throng  of  demons  of  varying  individual  strength  plot  with 
him  against  the  universe.^  But  in  other  passages  Hildegard 
seems  to  admit  freely  the  influence,  if  not  the  complete  pres- 
ence, of  the  devil  in  nature.  And  he  has  the  power  of  de- 
ceiving by  assumed  appearances,  as  Adam  was  seduced  by 
the  serpent. 

Indeed,  the  dragon  to  this  day  hates  mankind  and  has  Natural 
such  a  nature  and  such  diabolical  arts  in  itself  that  some-  an/evil^^' 
times  when  it  emits  its  fiery  breath,  the  spirits  of  the  air  spirits, 
disturb  the  air.-  This  illustrates  a  common  feature  of 
Hildegard's  natural  history  and  pharmacy;  namely,  the  as- 
sociation of  natural  substances  with  evil  spirits  either  in 
friendly  or  hostile  relationships.  In  the  preface  to  the  first 
book  of  the  Subtleties  she  states  that  some  herbs  cannot  be 
endured  by  demons,  while  there  are  others  of  which  the 
devil  is  fond  and  to  which  he  joins  himself.  In  mandragora, 
for  example,  "the  influence  of  the  devil  is  more  present  than 
in  other  herbs ;  consequently  man  is  stimulated  by  it  accord- 
ing to  his  desires,  whether  they  be  good  or  bad."  ^  On  the 
other  hand,  the  holm-oak  is  hostile  to  the  spirits  of  the  air; 
one  who  sleeps  under  its  shade  is  free  from  diabolical  illu- 
sions, and  fumigating  a  house  with  it  drives  out  the  evil 
spirits.*  Certain  fish,  too,  have  the  property  of  expelling 
demons,  whether  one  eats  them  or  burns  their  livers  or 
bones. ^  Finally,  stones  and  metals  have  their  relations  to 
evil  spirits.  It  is  advisable  for  a  woman  in  childbirth  to 
hold  the  gem  jasper  in  her  hand,  "in  order  that  malignant 
spirits  of  the  air  may  be  the  less  able  to  harm  her  and  her 
child;  for  the  tongue  of  the  ancient  serpent  extends  itself 
towards  the  perspiration  of  the  child,  as  it  emerges  from 
the  mother's  womb."  ^  Not  only  does  the  touch  of  red-hot 
steel  weaken  the  force  of  poison  in  food  or  drink,  but  that 
metal  also  signifies  the  divinity  of  God,  and  the  devil  flees 
from  and  avoids  it.'^ 

*  Causae  et  curae,  pp.  57-58, 
'Subtleties,  VIII,  i. 
^Ibid.,  I,  56. 
*Ihid..  Ill,  25. 

'Ihid.,  V,  I  and  4. 
'Ibid.,  IV,   10. 
Ibid..  IX,  8. 



Stars  and 
angels : 
sin  and 

in  Adam's 
time :  the 

It  is  perhaps  not  very  surprising  that  we  should  find 
in  Hildegard's  works  notions  concerning  nature  which  we 
met  back  in  the  Enoch  Hterature,  since  some  of  her  writings 
take  the  same  form  of  recorded  visions  as  Enoch's,  while 
one  of  them,  the  Liber  vitae  meritorum,  is  equally  apoca- 
lyptic. At  any  rate,  in  the  Sciznas  in  the  second  vision, 
where  Lucifer  is  cast  out  of  glory  because  of  his  pride,  the 
fallen  angels  are  seen  as  a  great  multitude  of  stars,  as  in 
the  Book  of  Enoch,  and  we  are  told  that  the  four  elements 
were  in  harmony  before  Lucifer's  fall.^  The  disturbing 
effect  of  sin,  even  human,  upon  nature  is  again  stated  in 
the  Causae  et  curae,  where  it  is  said  that  normally  the  ele- 
ments serve  man  quietly  and  perform  his  works.  B'^t  when 
men  engage  in  wars  and  give  way  to  hate  and  envy,  the 
elements  are  apt  to  rage  until  men  repent  and  seek  after 
God  again. ^  In  the  Liber  vitae  meritorum,  too,  the  elements 
complain  that  they  are  overturned  and  upset  by  human 
depravity  and  iniquity.^ 

The  influence  of  the  Christian  religion  is  further  shown 
and  that  of  the  Bible  in  particular  is  manifested  by  numer- 
ous allusions  to  Adam  and  the  earliest  period  of  Biblical 
history,  but  very  few  of  them  find  any  justification  in  the 
scriptural  narrative.  Thus  the  Liber  divinorum  operum 
states  ^  that  after  the  fall  of  Adam  and  before  the  deluge 
the  sun  and  moon  and  planets  and  other  stars  were  "some- 
what turbulent  from  excessive  heat,"  and  that  the  men  of 
that  time  possessed  great  bodily  strength  in  order  that  they 
might  endure  this  heat.  The  deluge  reduced  the  tempera- 
ture and  men  since  have  been  weaker.  In  the  preface  to 
the  fifth  book  of  the  Subtleties  we  are  told  that  there  are 
certain  plants  which  fish  eat,  and  which,  if  man  could  pro- 
cure and  eat,  would  enable  him  to  go  without  food  for  four 
or  five  months.     Adam  used  to  eat  them  at  times  after  he 

*Migne,  387-9. 

*  (1903)  p.  57. 

*II,  I,  "Querela  elementorum. 
'Nam  homines  pravis  operibus 
suis  velut  molendinum  subvertunt 

nos.'  Ill,  23,  "Quod  elementa 
humanis  iniquitatibus  subver- 

*  Migne,  966. 


had  been  cast  out  of  Eden,  but  not  when  he  could   get 

enough  other  food,  as  they  make  the  flesh  tough.     In  the 

preface  to  the  eighth  book  Hildegard  says  that  all  creatures 

were  good  before  Adam's  fall,  but  when  Abel's  blood  stained 

the  soil  noxious  humors  arose  from  which  venomous  and 

deadly    reptiles    were    generated.     These    perished    in    the 

deluge,  but  others  were  generated   from  their  putrefying 

carcasses.    In  the  Causae  et  curae,  too,  the  names  of  Adam 

and  Eve  occasionally  appear  in  the  chapter  headings,  for 

instance,  "Of  Adam's  fall  and  of  melancholy."  ^ 

Hildegard  also  held  the  view,  common  among  medieval    Spiritual 

Christian  writers,  that  one  purpose  of  the  natural  world  about    from"^ 

us  is  to  illustrate  the  spiritual  world  and  life  to  come,  and   natural 

....        phe- 
that  invisible  and  eternal  truths  may  be  manifested  in  visible   nomena. 

and  temporal  objects.  In  the  Scivias  she  hears  a  voice 
from  heaven  saying,  "God  who  established  all  things  by 
His  will,  created  them  to  make  His  Name  known  and 
honored,  not  only  moreover  showing  in  the  same  what  are 
visible  and  temporal,  but  also  manifesting  in  them  what  are 
invisible  and  eternal."  ^  But  neither  Hildegard  nor  medie- 
val Christians  in  general  thought  that  the  only  purpose  of 
natural  phenomena  and  science  was  to  illustrate  spiritual 
truth  and  point  a  moral.  But  this  always  constituted  a  good 
excuse  which  sounded  well  when  one  of  the  clergy  wished 
to  investigate  or  write  about  things  of  nature.  Not  that 
we  mean  to  question  the  sincerity  of  the  medieval  writers 
one  whit  more  than  that  of  certain  "Christian  colleges"  of 
the  present  which  deem  it  wise  to  demonstrate  their  piety 
and  orthodoxy  by  maintaining  compulsory  chapel  attend- 
ance and  holding  an  occasional  "Convocation."  But  cer- 
tainly our  abbess  of  Bingen  in  the  course  of  her  writings, 
especially  the  Subtleties  and  Causae  et  curae,  lists  many 
natural  phenomena  and  medical  recipes  without  making 
any  mention  of  what  spiritual  truth  they  may  or  may  not 

*  (1903).  P-  143.  '  Migne,   404-405. 











Associating  natural  substances  as  much  with  the  devil 
or  spirits  of  the  air  as  she  does,  it  is  not  surprising  that 
Hildegard  believes  in  the  reality  of  magic  and  has  some- 
thing to  say  about  it.  Magic  is  regarded  by  Hildegard  as 
an  evil  and  diabolical  art.  She  describes  it  in  a  vision  of 
the  Sciz'ias,  where  God  Himself  is  represented  as  speaking, 
as  the  art  of  seeing  and  hearing  the  devil,  which  was  taught 
to  men  by  Satan  himself.^  Similarly  in  the  Liber  divinorum 
operum  it  is  stated  that  Antichrist  will  excel  "in  all  dia- 
bolical arts"  and  in  "the  magic  art."  ^  This  was  of  course 
the  usual  Christian  view.  In  the  Liber  vitae  meritorum 
with  more  apparent  originality  Magic  or  Maleiicium  is  pre- 
sented as  one  of  the  personified  Vices  and  is  allowed  to 
speak  for  itself.  It  is  represented  as  having  the  body  of 
a  dog,  the  head  of  a  wolf,  and  the  tail  of  a  lion.  This 
beast  or  image  speaks  in  its  own  praise  and  defense  as 

"Of  Mercury  and  other  philosophers  I  will  say  many 
things,  who  by  their  investigations  harnessed  the  elements 
in  such  wise  that  they  discovered  most  certainly  everything 
that  they  wished.  Those  very  daring  and  very  wise  men 
learned  such  things  partly  from  God  and  partly  from  evil 
spirits.  And  why  shouldn't  they?  And  they  named  the 
planets  after  themselves,  since  they  had  made  many  investi- 
gations and  learned  a  great  deal  concerning  the  sun  and 
moon  and  stars.  I,  moreover,  rule  and  reign  wherever  I 
list  in  those  arts,  forsooth  in  the  heavenly  luminaries,  in 
trees  and  herbs  and  all  that  grows  in  the  earth,  and  in  beasts 
and  animals  upon  the  earth,  and  in  worms  both  above  and 
below  the  earth.  And  on  my  marches  who  is  there  that 
resists  me?  God  created  all  things,  so  in  these  arts  I  do 
Him  no  injury.  For  He  wishes  it,  as  is  proved  in  His 
scriptures  and  perfect  works.  And  what  would  be  the  ad- 
vantage, if  His  works  were  so  blind  that  no  cause  could 
be  studied  in  them?    There  wouldn't  be  any."  ^ 

*  Vision  III,  Migne,  410.  ^  Pitra  (1882)    Vitae  meritorum, 

'  Vision    X,   2S>   and   32,    Migne,       V,    6-7. 
1028  and  1032. 




To  this  bold  attempt  of  Magic  to  identify  itself  with 
scientific  investigation,  the  True  Worship  of  God  responds 
with  the  counter  question,  "Whether  it  is  more  pleasing 
to  God  to  adore  Him  or  His  works?"  and  reminds 
Maleficiimi  that  mere  creatures  which  proceed  from  God 
can  give  life  to  no  one  and  that  man  is  the  only  rational 
created  being.  "You,  moreover,  O  Magic  Art,  have  the 
circle  without  the  center,  and  while  you  investigate  many 
problems  in  the  circle  of  creation  .  .  .  you  have  robbed 
God  of  His  very  name."  This  reply  does  not  seem  to  sepa- 
rate magic  and  scientific  investigation  or  to  deny  Magic's 
claim  that  they  are  identical,  and  its  force  would  seem  about 
as  cogent  against  science  as  against  magic.  But  a  little 
later  in  the  same  work  Hildegard  reverts  to  her  former 
charge  that  maleficiimi  is  "by  diabolical  arts,"  and  that  its 
devotees  "by  directing  all  their  works  to  impurity  turn  their 
science  also  to  the  pursuit  of  evils."  "For  they  name  demons 
as  their  gods  and  worship  them  instead  of  God."  ^ 

That  magic,  however  diabolical  it  may  be,  does  employ 
natural  forces  and  substances,  is  not  only  asserted  by  Magic 
Art  itself,  but  freely  admitted  by  Hildegard  in  her  discus- 
sions of  the  properties  of  animals,  plants,  and  minerals  in 
her  other  two  works,  the  Subtleties  of  Diverse  Creatures 
and  Cases  and  Cures.  In  the  latter  work  she  states  that 
while  herbs  in  the  east  are  full  of  virtue  and  have  a  good 
odor  and  medicinal  properties,  those  in  the  west  are  potent 
in  the  magic  art  and  for  other  phantasms  but  do  not  con- 
tribute much  to  the  health  of  the  human  body.^  In  the 
former  work  she  tells  that  the  tree-toad  is  much  employed 
in  diabolical  arts,  especially  when  the  trees  are  beginning 
to  leaf  and  blossom,  since  at  this  time  the  spirits  of  the 
air  are  especially  active.^  Sometimes,  however,  there  is  a 
way  to  remove  this  magic  virtue  from  a  natural  substance. 
The  root  mandragora  "is  no  longer  efficacious  for  magic  and 
fantastic  purposes,"  if   it  is  purified  in  a   fountain   for  a 


reply  to 

of  natu- 
ral sub- 

*  Vitae  meritorum,  V,  32. 
'Causae  et  curae    (1903)   31-32. 

^  Subtleties,  Vlll,  6. 



of  coun- 

day  and  a  night  immediately  after  it  has  been  dug  from 
the  earth.  ^ 

There  are  also  substances  which  counteract  magic.  It 
has  Httle  force  in  any  place  where  a  fir-tree  grows,  for  the 
spirits  of  the  air  hate  and  avoid  such  spots.-  In  the  Causae 
et  curae  Hildegard  tells  how  to  compound  a  powder  "against 
poison  and  against  magic  words."  ^  It  also  "confers  health 
and  courage  and  prosperity  on  him  who  carries  it  with  him." 
First  one  takes  a  root  of  geranium  (storkesnabil)  with  its 
leaves,  two  mallow  plants,  and  seven  shoots  of  the  plantag- 
enet.  These  must  be  plucked  at  midday  in  the  middle  of 
April.  Then  they  are  to  be  laid  on  moist  earth  and  sprinkled 
with  water  to  keep  them  green  for  a  while.  Next  they  are 
dried  in  the  setting  sun  and  in  the  rising  sun  until  the  third 
hour,  when  they  should  once  more  be  laid  on  moist  earth 
and  sprinkled  with  water  until  noon.  Then  they  are  to  be 
removed  and  placed  facing  the  south  in  the  full  sunshine 
until  the  ninth  hour,  when  they  should  be  wrapped  in  a 
cloth,  with  a  stick  on  top  to  hold  them  in  place,  until  a 
trifle  before  midnight.  Then  the  night  begins  to  incline 
towards  day  and  all  the  evils  of  darkness  and  night  begin 
to  flee.  A  little  before  midnight,  therefore,  they  should  be 
transferred  to  a  high  window  or  placed  above  a  door  or 
in  some  garden  where  the  cool  air  may  have  access  to  them. 
As  soon  as  midnight  is  passed,  they  are  to  be  removed  once 
more,  pulverized  with  the  middle  finger,  and  put  in  a  new 
pill-box  with  a  little  hisemuni  to  keep  them  from  decaying 
but  not  a  sufficient  quantity  to  overcome  the  scent  of  the 
herbs.  A  little  of  this  powder  may  be  applied  daily  to  the 
eyes,  ears,  nose,  and  mouth,  or  it  may  be  bound  on  the 
body  as  an  antiaphrodisiac,  or  it  may  be  held  over  wine 
without  touching  it  but  so  that  its  odor  can  reach  the  wine, 
which  should  then  be  drunk  with  a  bit  of  saffron  as  a  pre- 
ventive of  indigestion,  poison,  magic,  and  so  forth. 

^Subtleties,  I,  56. 
*Ibid.,  Ill,  23. 

(1903),  p.  196. 




In  the  Suhtilitates  ^  the  following  procedure  is  recom- 
mended, if  anyone  is  bewitched  by  phantasms  or  magic 
words  so  that  he  goes  mad.  Take  a  wheaten  loaf  and  cut 
the  upper  crust  in  the  form  of  a  cross.  First  draw  a  jacinth 
through  one  line  of  the  cross,  saying,  "May  God  who  cast 
away  all  the  preciousness  of  gems  from  the  devil  when  he 
transgressed  His  precept,  remove  from  you  N.  all  phantasms 
and  magic  words  and  free  you  from  the  ill  of  this  mad- 
ness." Then  the  jacinth  is  to  be  drawn  through  the  other 
arm  of  the  cross  and  this  formula  is  to  be  repeated,  "As 
the  splendor  which  the  devil  once  possessed  departed  from 
him  because  of  his  transgression,  so  may  this  madness  which 
harasses  N.  by  varied  phantasies  and  magic  arts  be  removed 
from  you  and  depart  from  you."  The  ceremony  is  then 
completed  by  the  bewitched  person  eating  the  bread  around 
the  cross. 

These  two  illustrations  make  it  apparent  that  Hildegard 
has  a  licit  magic  of  her  own  which  is  every  whit  as  super- 
stitious as  the  magic  art  which  she  condemns.  It  is  evident 
that  she  accepts  not  only  marvelous  and  occult  virtues  of 
natural  substances  such  as  herbs  and  gems,  but  also  the 
power  of  words  and  incantations,  and  rites  and  ceremonies 
of  a  most  decidedly  magical  character.  In  the  second  pas- 
sage this  procedure  assumed  a  Christian  character,  but  the 
plucking  and  drying  of  the  herbs  in  the  first  passage  perhaps 
preserves  the  flavor  of  primitive  Teutonic  or  Celtic  pagan- 
ism. Nor  is  such  superstitious  procedure  resorted  to  merely 
against  magic,  to  whose  operations  it  forms  a  sort  of 
homeopathic  counterpart.  It  is  also  employed  for  ordinary 
medicinal  purposes,  and  is  a  characteristic  feature  of  Hilde- 
gard's  conception  of  nature  and  whole  mental  attitude.  This 
we  may  further  illustrate  by  running  through  the  books  of 
the  Suhtilitates. 

Except  for  passages  connecting  the  devil  with  certain 
herbs  which  we  have  already  noted,  Hildegard's  discussion 
of  vegetation  is  for  the  most  part  limited  to  medicinal  prop- 

*IV,  2. 


with  a 






Use  of 


erties  of  herbs,  which  are  effective  without  the  addition  of 
fantastic  ceremonial.  Sometimes  nevertheless  the  herbs  are 
either  prepared  or  administered  in  a  rather  bizarre  fashion. 
Insanity  may  be  alleviated,  we  are  told,  by  shaving  the 
patient's  head  and  washing  it  in  the  hot  water  in  which 
agrimonia  has  been  boiled,  while  the  hot  herbs  themselves 
are  bound  in  a  cloth  first  over  his  heart  and  then  upon  his 
forehead  and  temples.^  An  unguent  beneficial  alike  for  di- 
gestive and  mental  disorders  is  made  of  the  bark,  leaves,  and 
bits  of  the  green  wood  of  the  fir-tree,  combined  with  saliva 
to  half  their  weight.  This  mess  is  to  be  boiled  in  water 
until  it  becomes  thick,  then  butter  is  to  be  added,  and  the 
whole  strained  through  a  cloth.-  The  mandragora  root 
should  first  be  worn  bound  between  the  breast  and  navel  for 
three  days  and  three  nights,  then  divided  in  halves  and  these 
bound  on  the  thighs  for  three  days  and  three  nights.  Finally 
the  left  half  of  the  root,  which  resembles  the  human  figure, 
should  be  pulverized,  camphor  added  to  it,  and  eaten. ^  If 
a  man  is  always  sad  and  in  the  dumps,  after  purifying  the 
mandragora  root  in  a  fountain,  let  him  take  it  to  bed  with 
him,  hold  it  so  that  it  will  be  warmed  by  the  heat  of  his  body, 
and  say,  "God,  who  madest  man  from  the  dust  of  the  earth 
without  grief,  I  now  place  next  me  that  earth  which  has 
never  transgressed" — Hildegard  has  already  stated  that  the 
mandragora  is  composed  "of  that  earth  of  which  Adam  was 
created" — "in  order  that  my  clay  may  feel  that  peace  just 
as  Thou  didst  create  it."  That  the  prayer  or  incantation  is 
more  essential  than  the  virtue  of  the  mandragora  in  this 
operation,  is  indicated  by  the  statement  that  shoots  of  beech, 
cedar,  or  aspen  may  be  used  instead  of  the  mandragora. 
Marvelous  Other  marvelous  effects  than  routing  the  devil,  which 

o'/Kems  Hildegard  attributes  to  gems  in  the  course  of  the  fourth 
book  of  the  Suhtilitates,  are  to  confer  intellect  and  science 
for  the  day,  to  banish  anger  and  dulness,  bestow  an  equable 
temper,  restrain  lust,  cure  all  sorts  of  diseases  and  infirmi- 

"^  Subtleties,  I,    114.  "/fciJ..  I,  56. 

'  Ibid..  Ill,  23. 



ties,  endow  with  the  gift  of  sound  speech,  prevent  thefts  at 
night,  and  enable  one  to  fast.  These  marvelous  results  are 
produced  either  by  merely  having  the  stone  in  one's  posses- 
sion, or  by  holding  it  in  the  hand,  placing  it  next  the  skin, 
taking  it  to  bed  with  one  and  warming  it  by  the  heat  of  the 
body,  breathing  on  it,  holding  it  in  the  mouth  especially 
when  fasting,  suspending  it  about  the  neck,  or  making  the 
sign  of  the  cross  with  it.  In  the  cure  of  insanity  by  use 
of  the  magnet  the  stone  should  be  moistened  with  the  pa- 
tient's saliva  and  drawn  across  his  forehead  while  an  in- 
cantation is  repeated.^  A  man  may  be  brought  out  of  an 
epileptic  fit  by  putting  an  emerald  in  his  mouth.^  Having 
recovered,  he  should  remove  the  gem  from  his  mouth  and 
say,  "As  the  spirit  of  the  Lord  filled  the  earth,  so  may  His 
grace  fill  the  temple  of  my  body  that  it  may  never  be  moved." 
This  ceremony  is  to  be  repeated  on  nine  successive  morn- 
ings, and  that  here  the  gem  is  as  important  as  the  prayer  is 
indicated  by  the  direction  that  the  patient  should  have  the 
gem  with  him  each  time  and  take  it  out  and  look  at  it  as  he 
repeats  the  incantation.  Different  is  the  procedure  for 
curing  epilepsy  by  means  of  the  gem  achates.^  In  this  case 
the  stone  should  be  soaked  in  water  for  three  days  at  the 
full  moon;  this  water  should  be  slightly  warmed,  and  then 
preserved,  and  all  the  patient's  food  cooked  in  it  dum  lima 
tota  crescat.  The  gem  should  also  be  placed  in  everything 
that  he  drinks.  This  astrological  procedure  is  to  be  re- 
peated for  ten  months. 

We  have  already  heard  that  certain  fish  have  the  prop-    Remark- 
erty  of  expelling  demons.     Fish  also  have  other  remarkable   ertfesof'" 
virtues.    The  eye  of  a  copprea,  worn  in  a  gold  or  silver  ring   ^sh. 
so  that  it  touches  one's  finger,  arouses  a  sluggish  intellect.* 
The  lung  of  a  tunny  fish,  taken  in  water,  is  good  for  a  fever, 
and  it  keeps  one  in  good  health  to  wear  shoes  and  a  belt 
made  of  its  skin.^     Pulverized  salmon  bones  are  recom- 

^  Subtleties,  IV,    18. 
^Ibid.,  IV,  I. 
'Ibid.,  IV,  16. 

*  Ibid.,  V,  8. 
^bid.,  V,  I. 


mended  for  bad  teeth.^  But  eating  the  head  of  a  barbo 
gives  one  a  headache  and  fever. ^  Hildegard  also  tells  some 
wonderful  stories  concerning  the  modes  of  generation  of 
different  varieties  of  fish.  In  the  Causae  et  curae  ^  for  dim- 
ness of  the  eyes  it  is  recommended  to  dry  some  walrus  skin 
in  the  sun,  soften  it  in  pure  wine,  and  apply  it  in  a  cloth 
between  the  eyes  at  night.  It  should  be  removed  at  mid- 
night and  applied  only  on  alternate  nights  for  a  week. 
"Either  it  will  remove  dimness  of  the  eyes,  or  God  does  not 
permit  this  to  be  done." 
Use  of  the  To  render  available  or  to  enhance  the  occult  virtues  of 

bfrds°  birds  Hildegard  suggests  a  great  amount  of  complicated 
ceremonial.  The  heart  of  a  vulture,  split  in  two,  dried  be- 
fore a  slow  fire  and  in  the  sun,  and  worn  sewn  up  in  a 
belt  of  doeskin,  makes  one  tremble  in  the  presence  of 
poison.^  This  is  explained  by  the  vulture's  own  antipathy 
to  poison,  which  is  increased  and  purified  by  the  fire,  sun, 
and  especially  by  the  belt,  for  the  doe  is  swifter  and  more 
sensitive  than  other  animals.  Mistiness  is  marvelously  re- 
moved from  the  eyes  by  catching  a  nightingale  before  day- 
break, adding  a  single  drop  of  dew  found  on  clean  grass 
to  its  gall,  and  anointing  the  eyebrows  and  lashes  frequently 
with  the  same.^  Another  eye-cure  consists  in  cooking  a 
heron's  head  in  water,  removing  its  eyes,  alternately  drying 
them  in  the  sun  and  softening  them  in  cold  water  for  three 
successive  times,  pulverizing  and  dissolving  them  in  wine, 
and  at  night  frequently  touching  the  eyes  and  lids  with  the 
tip  of  a  feather  dipped  in  this  concoction."  The  blood  of  a 
crane,  dried  and  preserved,  and  its  right  foot  are  employed 
in  varied  ways  to  facilitate  child-birth.'^  Hildegard  also 
often  tells  how  to  make  a  medicinal  unguent  by  cooking  some 
bird  in  some  prescribed  manner  and  then  pulverizing  cer- 
tain portions  of  the  carcass  with  various  herbs  or  other  ani- 
mal substances.®     Even  without  the  employment  of  cere- 

' Subtleties,  y,  5.  'Ibid.,  VI,  49- 

'Ibid.,  V,  10.  'Ibid..  VI.   6. 

*(i903),  PP-    193-4-  ^ Ibid..  VI,  4. 

*  Subtleties,  VI,  7.  "Ibid.,  VI,  5,  20,  40. 


monial  sufficiently  remarkable  powers  are  attributed  to  the 
bodies  or  parts  of  birds.  Eating-  the  flesh  of  one  reduces 
fat  and  benefits  epileptics,  while  eating  its  liver  is  good  for 
melancholy.^  The  liver  of  a  swan  has  the  different  prop- 
erty of  purifying  the  lungs,  while  the  lung  of  a  swan  is  a 
cure  for  the  spleen.^  Again,  a  heron's  liver  cures  stomach 
trouble,  while  a  cure  for  spleen  is  to  drink  water  in  which 
its  bones  have  been  stewed,  and  if  one  who  is  sad  eats  its 
heart,  it  will  make  him  glad.^ 

Hildegard's  chapters  on  quadrupeds  are  so  delightfully  Cures 
quaint  that  I  cannot  pass  them  over,  although  the  properties  qu*^^ru 
which  she  attributes  to  them  and  the  methods  by  which  their  peds. 
virtues  are  utilized  are  not  essentially  different  from  those 
in  examples  already  given.  The  camel,  however,  is  peculiar 
in  that  its  different  humps  have  quite  different  virtues.'* 
The  one  next  to  its  neck  has  the  virtues  of  the  lion;  the 
second,  those  of  the  leopard;  the  third,  those  of  the  horse. 
A  cap  of  lion's  skin  cures  ailments  of  the  head  whether 
physical  or  mental.^  Deafness  may  be  remedied  by  cutting 
off  a  lion's  right  ear  and  holding  it  over  the  patient's  ear 
just  long  enough  to  warm  it  and  to  say,  "Hear  adimacus  by 
the  living  God  and  the  keen  virtue  of  a  lion's  hearing." 
This  process  is  to  be  repeated  many  times.  The  heart  of  a 
lion  is  somewhat  similarly  employed,  but  without  any  in- 
cantation, to  make  a  stupid  person  prudent.  Burying  a 
lion's  heart  in  the  house  is  regarded  as  fire  insurance  against 
its  being  struck  by  lightning,  "for  the  lion  is  accustomed 
to  roar  when  he  hears  thunder."  Digestion  is  aided  by 
drinking  water  in  which  the  dried  liver  of  a  lion  has  been 
left  for  a  short  time.  Placing  a  bit  of  the  skin  from  be- 
tween a  bear's  eyes  over  one's  heart  removes  timidity  and 
anxiety.^  If  anyone  suffers  from  paralysis  or  one  of  those 
changeable  diseases  which  wax  and  wane  with  the  moon  like 
lunacy,  let  him  select  a  spot  where  an  ass  has  been  slain,  or 
has  died  a  natural  death,  or  has  wallowed,  and  let  him 

^Subtleties,  VI,  2.  *  Ibid.,  VII,  2. 

^bid.,  VI,  5.  ^Ibid.,  VII,  3. 

'Ibid.,  VI,  6.  'Ibid.,  VII,  4. 



spread  a  cloth  on  the  grass  or  ground  and  repose  there  a 
short  time  and  sleep  if  he  can.  Afterwards  you  should  take 
him  by  the  right  hand  and  say,  "Lazarus  slept  and  rested 
and  rose  again;  and  as  Christ  roused  him  from  foul  decay, 
so  may  you  rise  from  this  perilous  pestilence  and  the  chang- 
ing phases  of  fever  in  that  conjunction  in  which  Christ  ap- 
plied Himself  to  the  alleviation  of  such  complaints,  prefigur- 
ing that  He  would  redeem  man  from  his  sins  and  raise  him 
from  the  dead."  With  a  brief  interval  of  time  allowed  be- 
tween, the  same  performance  is  to  be  repeated  thrice  in  the 
same  place  on  the  same  day,  and  then  again  thrice  on  the 
next  and  the  third  days,  when  the  patient  will  be  cured.^ 
The  The  liver  and  skin  of  the  unicorn  have  great  medicinal 

weasel"'       virtues,   but   that   animal  can  never  be   caught   except   by 
and  means  of  girls,   for  it  flees   from  men  but  stops  to  gaze 

diligently  at  girls,  because  it  marvels  that  they  have  human 
forms,  yet  no  beards.  "And  if  there  are  two  or  three  girls 
together,  it  marvels  so  much  the  more  and  is  the  more 
quickly  captured  while  its  eyes  are  fixed  on  them.  More- 
over, the  girls  employed  in  capturing  it  should  be  of  noble, 
not  peasant  birth,  and  of  the  middle  period  of  adolescence."  ^ 
When  one  weasel  is  sick,  another  digs  up  a  certain  herb 
and  breathes  and  urinates  on  it  for  an  hour,  and  then  brings 
it  to  the  sick  weasel  who  is  cured  by  it.^  But  what  this 
herb  is  is  unknown  to  men  and  other  animals,  and  it  would 
do  them  no  good  if  they  did  know  it,  since  its  unaided  virtue 
is  not  efficacious,  nor  would  the  action  of  their  breath  or 
urine  make  it  so.  But  the  heart  of  a  weasel,  dried  and 
placed  with  wax  in  the  ear,  benefits  headache  or  deafness, 
and  the  head  of  a  weasel,  worn  in  two  pieces  in  a  belt  next 
the  skin,  strengthens  and  comforts  the  bearer  and  keeps 
him  from  harm.  The  mouse,  besides  being  responsible  for 
two  other  equally  marvelous  cures,  is  a  remedy  for  epilepsy. 
"For  inasmuch  as  the  mouse  runs  away  from  everything, 
therefore  it  drives  away  the  falling  disease."  *    It  should  be 

^Subtleties,  VII,  9.  'Ibid.,  VII,  38. 

'Ibid.,  VII,  5.  *Ibid.,  VII,  39- 




put  in  a  dish  of  water,  and  the  patient  should  drink  some 
of  this  water  and  also  wash  his  feet  and  forehead  in  it. 

Hildegard  gives  some  strange  advice  what  animal  prod- 
ucts to  eat  and  wear.  "Sheepskins  are  good  for  human 
wear,  because  they  do  not  induce  pride  or  lust  or  pestilence 
as  the  skins  of  certain  other  animals  do."  ^  Pork  is  not 
good  for  either  sick  or  healthy  persons  to  eat,  in  her  opinion, 
while  beef,  on  account  of  its  intrinsic  cold,  is  not  good  for  a 
man  of  cold  constitution  to  eat.-  On  the  other  hand,  she 
recommends  as  edible  various  birds  which  would  strike  the 
modern  reader  as  disgusting.^ 

Fleas  remain  underground  in  winter  but  come  forth  to 
plague  mankind  when  the  sun  dries  the  soil  in  summer. 
But  one  may  be  rid  of  them  by  heating  some  earth  until  it 
is  quite  dry  and  then  scattering  it  upon  the  bed.^  Hildegard 
also  describes  a  complicated  cure  for  leprosy  by  use  of  the 
earth  from  an  ant-hill.^  If  a  man  kills  a  certain  venomous 
snake  just  after  it  has  skinned  itself  in  the  cleft  of  a  rock, 
and  cautiously  removes  its  heart  and  dries  the  same  in 
the  sun,  and  then  preserves  it  in  a  thin  metal  cover,  it  will 
serve  as  an  amulet.  Holding  it  in  his  hand  will  render  him 
immune  to  venom  and  cheer  him  up  if  he  becomes  gloomy 
or  sorrowful.^ 

In  the  Causae  et  curae  Hildegard  combines  the  virtues 
of  parts  of  a  number  of  animals  into  one  composite  medi- 
cine for  epilepsy.'^  Four  parts  of  dried  mole's  blood  are 
used  because  the  mole  sometimes  shows  himself  and  some- 
times hides,  like  the  epilepsy  itself.  Two  parts  of  powdered 
duck's  bill  are  added  because  the  duck's  strength  is  in  its 
beak,  "and  because  it  touches  both  pure  and  impure  things 
with  its  bill,  it  is  repugnant  to  this  disease  which  is  sudden 
and  silent."  One  portion  of  the  powdered  claws  of  a  goose, 
minus  the  skin  and  flesh,  is  added  for  much  the  same  reason, 
and  the  claw  of  a  goose  rather  than  a  gander  is  required 

'  Subtleties,  VII,  16. 
''Ibid.,  VII,  17. 
nbid.,  VII,  14. 
Ubid.,  VII,  42. 

^Ibid..  VII,  43- 
Ubid.,  VIII,  2. 
'(1903),  pp.   206-7. 

What  ani- 
mals to  eat 
and  wear. 







Magic  and 



because  the  female  bird  is  the  more  silent  of  the  two.  These 
constituents  are  bound  together  in  a  cloth,  placed  for  three 
days  near  a  recent  molecast, — for  such  earth  is  more  whole- 
some, then  are  put  near  ice  to  cool  and  then  in  the  sun  to 
dry.  Cakes  are  then  to  be  made  with  this  powder  and  the 
livers  of  some  edible  animal  and  bird  and  a  little  meal  and 
cummin  seed,  and  eaten  for  five  days.  Against  diabolical 
phantasms  is  recommended  a  belt  made  of  the  skin  of  a 
roebuck,  which  is  a  pure  animal,  and  of  the  skin  of  the 
helun,  which  is  a  brave  beast,  and  hence  both  are  abhorred 
by  evil  spirits.^  The  two  strips  of  skin  are  to  be  fastened 
together  by  four  little  steel  ^  nails,  and  as  each  is  clasped 
one  repeats  the  formula,  "In  the  most  potent  strength  of 
almighty  God  I  adjure  you  to  safeguard  me" ;  only  in 
the  second,  third,  and  fourth  instance  instead  of  saying  "I 
adjure"  (adiuro),  the  words  henedico,  constituo,  and  con- 
iirmo  are  respectively  substituted.  One  should  be  girded 
with  this  belt  night  and  day,  and  magic  words  will  not  harm 

We  have  already  encountered  more  than  one  instance 
of  observance  of  the  phases  of  the  moon  in  Hildegard's 
medicinal  and  magical  procedure,  and  have  met  in  one  of 
her  formulae  a  hint  that  Christ  employed  astrological  elec- 
tion of  a  favorable  conjunction  in  performing  His  miracles. 
Thus  as  usual  the  influence  of  the  stars  is  difficult  to  sepa- 
rate from  other  occult  virtues  of  natural  substances,  and 
we  may  complete  our  survey  of  Hildegard's  writings  by 
considering  her  views  concerning  the  celestial  bodies  and 
divination  of  the  future. 

In  the  passage  of  the  Scivias  to  which  we  have  already 
referred  God  condemned  astrology  and  divination  as  well  as 
magic. ^  Mathematici  are  called  "deadly  instructors  and 
followers  of  the  Gentiles  in  unbelief,"  and  man  is  reproved 

*  (1903),  pp.  194-5. 

'(1903),  p.  195,  "Nam  calibs 
est  firmamentum  et  ornamentum 
aliarum  rerum  et  est  quasi 
quaedam    adiunctio   ad    vires    ho- 

minis  quemadmodum  homo  fortis 

'  Migne,  409-14;  I  alter  the  or- 
der somewhat  in  my  summary. 


for  believing  that  the  stars  allot  his  years  of  life  and  regu- 
late all  human  actions,  and  for  cultivating  in  the  place  of 
his  Creator  mere  creatures  such  as  the  stars  and  heavens, 
which  cannot  console  or  help  him,  or  confer  either  pros- 
perity or  happiness,  Man  should  not  consult  the  stars  as 
to  the  length  of  his  life,  which  he  can  neither  know  before- 
hand nor  alter.  He  should  not  seek  signs  of  the  future 
in  either  stars  or  fire  or  birds  or  any  other  creature.  "The 
error  of  augury"  is  expressly  rebuked.  Man  should  abstain 
not  only  from  worshiping  or  invoking  the  devil  but  from 
making  any  inquiries  from  him,  "since  if  you  wish  to  know 
more  than  you  should,  you  will  be  deceived  by  the  old 

It  is  true  that  sometimes  by  divine  permission  the  stars  Signs  in 
are  signs  to  men,  for  the  Son  of  God  Himself  says  in  the 
Gospel  by  Luke  that  "There  shall  be  signs  in  the  sun  and 
moon  and  stars,"  and  His  incarnation  was  revealed  by  a 
star.  But  it  is  a  stupid  popular  error  to  suppose  that  other 
men  each  have  a  star  of  their  own,  and,  continues  God, 
speaking  through  the  medium  of  Hildegard,  "That  star 
brought  no  aid  to  My  Son  other  than  that  it  faithfully  an- 
nounced His  incarnation  to  the  people,  since  all  stars  and 
creatures  fear  Me  and  simply  fulfill  My  dictates  and  have 
no  signification  of  anything  in  any  creature."  This  last 
observation  receives  further  interpretation  in  a  passage  of 
the  Causae  et  Curae  ^  which  explains  that  the  stars  some- 
times show  many  signs,  but  not  of  the  future  or  hidden 
thoughts  of  men,  but  of  matters  which  they  have  already 
revealed  by  act  of  will  or  voice  or  deed,  so  that  the  air 
has  received  an  impression  of  it  which  the  stars  can  reflect 
back  to  other  men  if  God  allows  it.  But  the  sun  and  moon 
and  planets  do  not  always  thus  portray  the  works  of  men, 
but  only  rarely,  and  in  the  case  of  some  great  event  affect- 
ing the  public  welfare, 

'(1903),  p.  IS- 




inferiors ; 
effect  of 
stars  and 
winds  on 

of  the 
moon  on 
health  and 

If  the  stars  do  not  even  signify  the  fate  and  future 
of  man,  they  are  none  the  less  potent  forces  and,  under  God, 
causes  in  the  world  of  nature.  "God  who  created  all 
things,"  writes  Hildegard  in  the  Liber  divinorum  operum^ 
"so  constituted  superiors  that  He  also  strengthens  and 
purifies  things  below  through  these,  and  in  the  human  form 
introduces  also  those  things  allotted  for  the  soul's  salvation." 
This  passage  has  two  sides ;  it  affirms  the  rule  of  superiors 
over  inferiors,  but  it  makes  special  provision  for  the  salva- 
tion of  the  human  soul.  And  thus  it  is  a  good  brief  sum- 
mary of  Hildegard's  position.  Sun,  moon,  and  stars  are 
represented  as  by  the  will  of  God  cooperating  with  the  winds 
— which  play  an  important  part  in  Hildegard's  cosmology — 
in  driving  the  elements  to  and  fro ;  '  and  the  humors  in  the 
human  body  now  rage  fiercely  like  the  leopard,  now  move 
sluggishly  like  the  crab,  now  proceed  in  other  ways 
analogous  to  the  wolf  or  deer  or  bear  or  serpent  or  lamb  or 
lion — animals  whose  heads,  belching  forth  winds,  are  seen 
in  the  vision  about  the  rim  of  the  heavenly  spheres.^  They 
suggest  the  influence  of  the  signs  of  the  zodiac,  although 
there  appears  to  be  no  exact  correspondence  to  these  in 
Hildegard's  visionary  scheme  of  the  universe  as  detailed  in 
the  Liber  divinorum  operum.  In  the  Causae  et  curae,  on 
the  other  hand,  she  gives  a  detailed  account  of  how  pairs 
or  triplets  of  planets  accompany  the  sun  through 
each  of  the  twelve  signs.'*  In  other  passages  ^  she  affirms 
that  the  sun  and  moon  serve  man  by  divine  order,  and 
bring  him  strength  or  weakness  according  to  the  temper  of 
the  air. 

Hildegard  more  especially  emphasizes  the  influence  of 
the  moon,  in  which  respect  she  resembles  many  an  astrologer. 
In  the  Causae  et  curae  ®  she  states  that  some  days  of  the 
moon  are  good,  others  bad ;  some,  useful  and  others,  use- 
less; some,  strong  and  others,  weak.     "And  since  the  moon 

'Migne,  807. 
*Migne,  791   and   798. 
'  Migne,    732    ct    seq. 

*  (1903).  pp.   11-14. 
'Migne.  778. 

*  (1903),  pp.   16-17. 




has  this  changeability  in  itself,  therefore  the  moisture  in 
man  has  its  vicissitudes  and  mutability  in  pain,  in  labor,  in 
wisdom,  and  in  prosperity."  Similarly  in  the  Liber 
divinorum  operum  ^  it  is  noted  that  human  blood  and  brain 
are  augmented  when  the  moon  is  full  and  diminish  as  it 
wanes,  and  that  these  changes  affect  human  health  vari- 
ously. Sometimes  one  incurs  epilepsy  when  the  moon  is  in 
eclipse.^  The  moon  is  the  mother  of  all  seasons.  Hilde- 
gard  marvels  in  the  Causae  et  curae  ^  that  while  men  have 
sense  enough  not  to  sow  crops  in  mid-summer  or  the  coldest 
part  of  winter,  they  persist  in  begetting  offspring  at  any 
time  according  to  their  pleasure  without  regard  either  to 
the  proper  period  of  their  own  lives  or  to  the  time 
of  the  moon.  The  natural  consequence  of  their  heedless- 
ness is  the  birth  of  defective  children.  Hildegard  then 
adds  ^  by  way  of  qualification  that  the  time  of  the  moon 
does  not  dominate  the  nature  of  man  as  if  it  were  his  god, 
or  as  if  man  received  any  power  of  nature  from  it,  or  as 
if  it  conferred  any  part  of  human  nature.  The  moon 
simply  affects  the  air,  and  the  air  affects  man's  blood  and 
the  humors  of  his  body. 

Hildegard,  however,  not  only  believed  that  as  the  humors    Relations 
were  perturbed  and  the  veins  boiled,  the  health  of  the  body   humors'lo'^ 
would  be  affected  and  perhaps  a  fever  set  in,^  but  also  that    human 
passions,  such  as  wTath  and  petulance,  were  thereby  aroused    and  fate, 
and  the  mind  affected.^    This  is  suggested  in  a  general  way 
in  the  Liher  divinorum  operum,  but  is  brought  out  in  more 
detail  in  the  Causae  et  curae,  where  various  types  of  men 
are  delineated  according  to  the  combinations  of  humors  in 
their  bodies,  and  their  characters  are  sketched  and  even  their 
fate   to   some  extent  predicted  therefrom.     In  one  case  '' 
"the  man  will  be  a  good   scholar,   but  headlong  and  too 
vehement  in  his  studies,  so  that  he  scatters  his  knowledge 

'Migne,  779.  "(1903),  p.  19. 

Migne,  793.  °  Migne,  793. 

'(1903)-    pp.    17-18;    and    again  *(i903),  p.  19. 

77-78;  see  also  p.  97,  "de  conceptu  ^  (1903),  p.  54. 
in  plenilunio." 




for  the 
days  of 
the  moon. 

over  too  wide  a  field,  as  straw  is  blown  by  the  wind;  and 
he  seeks  to  have  dominion  over  others.  In  body  he  is 
healthy  except  that  his  legs  are  weak  and  he  is  prone  to 
gout;  but  he  can  live  a  long  while,  if  it  so  please  God." 
Such  a  passage  hardly  sounds  consistent  with  Hildegard's 
statement  elsewhere  already  noted  that  man  cannot  know 
the  length  of  his  life  beforehand.  In  the  case  of  choleric, 
sanguine,  melancholy,  and  phlegmatic  men  ^  Hildegard 
states  what  the  relations  of  each  type  will  be  with  women 
and  even  to  some  extent  what  sort  of  children  they  will 
have.  She  also  discusses  four  types  of  women  in  very  simi- 
lar style.^  These  are  not  exactly  astrological  predictions, 
but  they  have  much  the  same  flavor  and  seem  to  leave  little 
place  for  freedom  of  the  will. 

In  one  passage,  however,  Hildegard  comfortingly  adds 
that  nevertheless  the  Holy  Spirit  can  penetrate  the  whole 
nature  of  man  and  overcome  his  mutable  nature  as  the  sun 
dispels  clouds,  and  so  counteract  the  moist  influence  of  the 
moon.  She  also  states  concerning  the  significations  of  the 
stars  concerning  man's  future,  "These  significations  are  not 
produced  by  the  virtue  of  the  planets  themselves  alone  or 
stars  or  clouds,  but  by  the  permission  and  will  and  decree  of 
God,  according  as  God  wished  to  demonstrate  to  men  the 
works  of  the  same,  just  as  a  coin  shows  the  image  of  its 
lord."  ^  In  another  passage,  on  the  other  hand,  Hildegard 
recognizes,  like  Aquinas  later,  that  it  is  only  rarely  and  with 
difficulty  that  the  flesh  can  be  restrained  from  sinning."* 

Finally,  the  Causae  et  curae  close  with  predictions  for 
each  day  of  the  moon  of  the  type  of  male  or  female  who 
will  be  conceived  on  that  day.^  Selecting  the  eighteenth 
day  by  lot  as  an  example  of  the  others,  we  read  that  a 
male  conceived  then  will  be  a  thief  and  will  be  caught  in 
the  act  and  will  be  deprived  of  his  landed  property  so  that 
he   possesses  neither  fields   nor  vineyards,   but   strives   to 

^Causae    et    curae     (1903),    pp. 
*  Ibid.,  pp.  87-9. 

^  Ibid.,  pp.   19-20. 
*Ibid.,  p.  84. 
''Ibid.,  pp.  235-42. 



take  from  others  what  is  not  his.  He  will  be  healthy  in 
body  and  live  a  long  life,  if  left  to  himself.  A  woman  con- 
ceived on  that  day  will  be  cunning-  and  deceitful  of  speech 
and  will  lead  upright  men  to  death  if  she  can.  She  too 
will  be  sound  of  body  and  naturally  long-lived,  but  some- 
times insane.  Hildegard  then  seems  to  feel  it  advisable 
to  add,  "But  such  morals,  both  in  men  and  in  women,  are 
hateful  to  God." 

The  theory  of  macrocosm  and  microcosm  had  a  consid-  Man  the 
erable  attraction  for  Hildegard.  At  the  beginning  of  the 
Causae  et  ciirae  she  exclaims,  "O  man,  look  at  man!  For 
man  has  in  himself  heavens  and  earth  .  .  .  and  in  him 
all  things  are  latent."  ^  Presently  she  compares  the  firma- 
ment to  man's  head,  sun,  moon,  and  stars  to  the  eyes,  air  to 
hearing,  the  winds  to  smelling,  dew  to  taste,  and  "the  sides 
of  the  world"  to  the  arms  and  sense  of  touch.  The  earth  is 
like  the  heart,  and  other  creatures  in  the  world  are  like  the 
belly.^  In  the  Liber  diznnorum  operum  she  goes  into  fur- 
ther detail.  Between  the  divine  image  in  human  form 
which  she  sees  in  her  visions  and  the  wheel  or  sphere  of 
the  universe  she  notes  such  relationships  as  these.  The  sun 
spreads  its  rays  from  the  brain  to  the  heel,  and  the  moon 
directs  its  rays  from  the  eyebrows  to  the  ankles.^  Else- 
where she  says,  "The  eyebrows  of  man  declare  the  journey- 
ings  of  the  moon,  namely,  the  one  route  by  which  it  ap- 
proaches the  sun  in  order  to  restore  itself,  and  the  other  by 
which  it  recedes  after  it  has  been  burnt  by  the  sun."  ^  Again, 
from  the  top  of  the  cerebral  cavity  to  "the  last  extremity  of 
the  forehead"  there  are  seven  distinct  and  equal  spaces,  by 
which  are  signified  the  seven  planets  which  are  equidistant 
from  one  another  in  the  firmament.^  An  even  more  sur- 
prising assumption  as  to  astronomical  distances  is  involved 
in  the  comparison  ®  that  as  the  three  intervals  between  the 
top  of  the  human  head  and  the  end  of  the  throat  and  the 
navel  and  the  groin  are  all  equal,  so  are  the  spaces  interven- 

M1903),  p.   2.  *Migne,    833. 

*  (1903),  p.  10.  °Migne,  819. 

^  Migne,   779.  *  Migne,    943. 

in  dreams. 

154        MAGIC  AND  EXPERIMENTAL  SCIENCE      chap,  xl 

ing  between  the  highest  firmament  and  lowest  clouds  and 
the  earth's  surface  and  center.  Corresponding  to  these 
intervals  Hildegard  notes  three  ages  of  man,  infancy, 
adolescence,  and  old  age.  One  more  passage  may  be  noted, 
since  it  also  involves  a  similar  explanation  of  weeping  for 
joy  to  that  given  by  Adelard  of  Bath.  As  the  heart  is 
stirred  by  emotion,  whether  of  joy  or  of  sorrow,  humors 
are  excited  in  the  lungs  and  breast  which  rise  to  the  brain 
and  are  emitted  through  the  eyes  in  the  form  of  tears.  And 
in  like  manner,  when  the  moon  begins  to  wax  or  wane,  the 
firmament  is  disturbed  by  winds  which  raise  fogs  from 
the  sea  and  other  waters.^ 
Divination  If  Hildegard  resorts  to  a  magic  of  her  own  in  order  to 

counteract  the  diabolical  arts,  and  if  she  accepts  a  certain 
amount  of  astrological  doctrine  for  all  her  .censure  of  it,  it 
is  not  surprising  to  find  her  in  the  Causae  et  curae  saying 
a  word  in  favor  of  natural  divination  in  dreams  despite  her 
rejection  of  augury  and  such  arts.  She  believes  that,  when 
God  sent  sleep  to  Adam  before  he  had  yet  sinned,  his  soul 
saw  many  things  in  true  prophecy,  and  that  the  human  soul 
may  still  sometimes  do  the  same,  although  too  often  it  is 
clouded  by  diabolical  illusions.^  But  when  the  body  is  in  a 
temperate  condition  and  the  marrow  warmed  in  due 
measure,  and  there  is  no  disturbance  of  vices  or  con- 
trariety of  morals,  then  very  often  a  sleeper  sees  true 
dreams.^  Hildegard's  own  visions,  as  we  have  seen,  came 
to  her  in  her  waking  hours. 

^Migne,  829.  '(1903),   P-   83. 

'(1903),  p-  82. 



His  picture  of  the  learned  world — Chief  events  of  his  life — General 
character  of  the  Polycraticus — Magic,  malcHcia,  and  tnathcmatica — Use 
of  Isidore  on  magic — Relation  of  Thomas  Becket  to  Johns  discussion — 
Inconsistent  Christian  attitude  toward  superstition — Divine  and  natural 
signs — Miracle  and  occult  virtue — Interpretation  of  dreams — Dreams 
of  Joseph  and  Daniel — The  witchcraft  delusion — Prevalence  of  astrol- 
ogy— John's  attack  upon  it — Does  astrology  imply  fatal  necessity? — 
John's  lame  conclusion — Other  varieties  of  magic — Thomas  Becket's 
consultation  of  diviners — Witch  of  Endor :  exorcisms — Divination  from 
polished  surfaces — Natural  science  and  medicine — Summary. 

In  1 1 59  John  of  Salisbury  completed  his  two  chief  works,    Hispic- 
the  Metalogicus  and  the  Polycraticus}     In  the  former  he   learned 
tells  the  interesting  story  of  his  education  in  the  schools  of   world, 
northern  France,  and  describes  the  teachers  and  methods  of 
the  humanistic  school  of  Chartres  and  the  schools  of  logic 
at  Paris,     This  valuable  picture  of  educational  conditions 
in  the  middle  of  the  twelfth  century  has  already  supplied 
us  with  a  number  of  bits  of  information  concerning  authors 
of  whom  we  have  treated.     Its  importance  in  the  history 
of  the  study  of  the  classics  and  of  scholasticism  has  long 
been  recognized,  and  its  content  has  often  been  reproduced 
in  secondary  works,   so  that  we  need   not  dwell  upon  it 
specifically  here.^      Moreover,   although   John   spent   some 
twelve  years  in  his  studies  in  France,  he  appears  from  his 

^Johannis    Sarisheriensis    Epis-  the  Polycraticus  unless  otherwise 

copi    Carnotensis    Policratici    sive  stated. 

de    nugis    curialiiim    et    vestigiis  *  The  most  recent  discussion  of 

philosophorum  libri  VIII.    Recog.  it  is  by  R.  L.  Poole,  "The  Masters 

C.    C.    I.    Webb.    2   vols.   Oxford,  of    the     Schools     at     Paris     and 

1909.     The  work  is  also  contained  Chartres    in    John    of    Salisbury's 

in     Migne,     PL     vol.     199.     For  Time,"   in   EHR   XXXV    (1920), 

John's  life  see  DNB.     All  refer-  321-42. 
ences  are  to  book  and  chapter  of 



own  statements  to  have  passed  from  the  study  of  logic  and 
"grammar"  to  that  of  theology  without  devoting  much  at- 
tention to  natural  science,^  although  he  received  some  in- 
struction in  the  Quadrivium  from  Richard  Bishop  and 
Hardewin  the  Teuton.  He  was,  it  is  true,  according  to 
his  own  statement,  a  pupil  of  William  of  Conches  for  three 
years,  but  he  always  alludes  to  William  as  a  grammarian, 
not  as  a  writer  on  natural  philosophy  and  astronomy.  This 
one-sided  description  of  William's  teaching  warns  us  not 
to  place  too  implicit  faith  in  John's  account  of  the  learned 
world  of  his  times.  Even  if  reliable  as  it  stands,  it  is  not 
in  itself  a  complete  or  adequate  picture.  In  the  Polycraticus, 
however,  he  engages  in  a  rather  long  discussion  of  magic, 
astrology  and  other  forms  of  divination  which  it  behooves 
us  to  note. 
Chief  John  tells  us  that  he  was  a  mere  lad  when  in  1136  he 

his  life.  fi'"^^  came  from  England  to  Gaul  to  hear  the  famous  Abelard 
lecture.  Like  many  medieval  students,  he  was  or  soon  came 
to  be  in  a  needy  condition  and  eked  out  a  living  at  one  time 
by  tutoring  the  sons  of  nobles.  During  the  time  that  had 
elapsed  between  his  long  training  in  the  liberal  arts  and 
theology  and  his  writing  of  the  Metalogkus  in  1159,  he 
had  led  a  busy  life  in  the  employ  of  Theobald,  archbishop 
of  Canterbury,  crossing  the  Alps  ten  times,  journeying  twice 
all  the  way  from  England  to  Apulia,  and  frequently 
traveling  about  England  and  what  is  now  France  (John 
says,  "the  Gauls" — Gallias).  In  1159  he  addressed  the 
Polycraticus  to  Thomas  Becket,  then  absent  with  Henry  II 
as  his  chancellor  at  the  siege  of  Toulouse.  Thomas  was  just 
about  John's  age  and,  before  he  became  chancellor  in  11 54 
at  the  age  of  thirty-six,  had  been  like  John  first  a  student 
and  then  in  the  employ  of  Archbishop  Theobald.  John 
sided  with  Thomas  Becket  in  the  struggle  with  Henry  II, 
retired  to  France,  and  returned  to  England  with  him  in 
1 1 70.     In  1176  he  crowned  his  career  by  becoming  bishop 

^Metalog.  II,   10. 




of  Chartres  where  perhaps  some  years  of  his  early  studies 
had  been  spent.    His  death  was  in  1180. 

In  the  Metalogiciis  John  tells  us  that  he  has  scarcely 
touched  a  book  of  logic  since  he  left  the  palaestra  of  the 
dialecticians  so  many  years  ago,  but  he  returns  to  the  sub- 
ject again  in  that  work.  In  the  Polycraticus  his  literary 
tastes  and  interests  are  more  manifest.  He  writes  a  good 
Latin  style  and  shows  a  wide  acquaintance  with  classical 
authors  and  ancient  history  as  well  as  with  patristic  litera- 
ture. The  character  and  content  of  the  Polycraticus  is  more 
clearly  suggested  by  its  sub-title,  "Courtiers'  Trifles  and 
Philosophers'  Footprints"  {De  niigis  curialmm  et  vestigiis 
philosophorum).  In  part  it  is  satirical,  although  there  is 
considerable  serious  discussion  of  the  state  and  philosophy 
and  much  moralizing  for  the  benefit  of  contemporary  courts 
and  statesmen.  John  confesses  that  the  entire  work  is  little 
more  than  a  patch-work  of  other  men's  opinions,  sometimes 
without  specific  acknowledgment  of  the  authorities.  He 
professes  to  believe  that  Thomas  will  recognize  the  sources 
of  these  passages  without  being  told,  while  other  readers 
who  are  more  ignorant  will  be  thereby  spurred  on  to  wider 
reading.  These  quotations,  moreover,  are  either  from  an- 
cient classical  or  comparatively  early  Christian  writers. 
John  does  not  epitomize  recent  literature  and  thought,  al- 
though he  makes  application  of  the  thought  of  the  past  to 
contemporary  society  and  politics,  and  although  he  shows 
some  acquaintance  with  the  works  of  contemporary  writers 
such  as  Bernard  Silvester.  In  the  main  his  attitude  is 
essentially  conservative;  he  repeats  traditional  views  in  an 
attractive  but  somewhat  dilettante  literary  form,  with  such 
rational  criticism  as  a  study  of  the  classics  might  be  ex- 
pected to  produce  when  qualified  by  scrupulous  adherence 
to  medieval  Christian  dogma.  This  is  especially  true  of 
his  discussion  of  the  magic  arts  and  astrology. 

John  begins  to  discuss  magic  in  the  first  of  the  eight 
books  of  the  Polycraticus  after  a  few  chapters  have  been 
taken  up  with  such  other  triflings  of  courtiers  as  hunting, 

of  the 

and  mathe' 


dicing,  music,  and  theatrical  shows  and  spectacles.     More 

harmful  than  the  illusions  of  the  stage,  he  declares,  are  those 

of  the  magic  arts  and  various  kinds  of  disreputable  mathe- 

matica,  long  since  forbidden  by  the  holy  fathers  who  knew 

that    all    these    artificia,    or    rather    maleficia    arose    from 

a  fatal  familiarity  of  men  and  demons.^     John  thus  takes 

as  practically  synonymous  the  three  terms,  magica,  mathe- 

matica   and   rnaleiicinm.      He   presently   explains    that   the 

word  mathcsis  in  one  sense  denotes  learning  in  general,  but 

that  when  it  has  a  long  penultima,  it  signifies  the  figments 

of  divination,-  which  belong  under  magic,  whose  varieties 

are  many  and  diverse.     Thus  magic  is  John's  most  general 

and  inclusive  term  for  all  occult  arts. 

Use  of  The  account  of  magic  in  John's  ninth,  tenth,  eleventh, 

Isidore        ^j^^j  twelfth  chapters  is  larg^ely  derived  without  acknowledg- 
on  magic.  .  . 

ment  from  that  of  Isidore  of  Seville.^     We  have  already 

seen  how  this  became  a  stock  description  of  the  subject 
copied  with  little  change  by  successive  writers  and  embodied 
in  the  decretals  of  the  church.  It  is  rather  surprising  that  a 
writer  as  well  versed  in  the  classics  as  John  is  generally 
supposed  to  be  should  not  have  borrowed  his  account  more 
directly  from  some  such  ancient  Latin  writers  as  Pliny  and 
Apuleius.  John,  however,  alters  the  wording  and  arrange- 
ment and  consequently  the  emphasis  considerably.  He 
makes  it  seem,  for  example,  that  several  magic  arts,  which 
really  have  nothing  to  do  with  predicting  the  future,  are 
sub-varieties  of  divination.  He  also  adds  some  new  varie- 
ties to  Isidore's  list  of  practitioners  of  the  magic  arts.  The 
cndtwoli  try  to  affect  men  by  making  images  of  them  from 
wax  or  clay.  Imaginarii,  on  the  other  hand,  make  images 
with  the  intent  that  demons  should  enter  these  images  and 
instruct  them  in  regard  to  doubtful  matters.  Besides  in- 
terpreters of  dreams  (conjectorcs)  and  chiromancers  John 
further  mentions  specidarii  who  practise  divination  by 
gazing  into  polished  surfaces  such  as  the  edges  of  swords, 

'  I,  9.  '  For   Isidore's  account   see   PL 

'At  II,  18  he  makes  the  same      82,  310-14. 




basins,  and  mirrors.  It  was  this  art  that  Joseph  is  described 
as  exercising  or  pretending-  to  exercise,  when  he  charged 
his  brothers  with  having  made  off  with  the  cup  in  which  he 
was  wont  to  practice  divination.  The  thirteenth  and  closing 
chapter  of  John's  first  book  is  a  long  list  of  omens  from 
Roman  history  and  Latin  literature,  especially  Vergil. 

In  the  second  book  he  resumes  the  same  subject  after  a 
brief  and  somewhat  apologetic  preface  in  which  he  states 
that  all  things  are  of  use  to  the  wise  man.  Therefore  he 
responds  with  alacrity  to  Thomas  Becket's  request  that  he 
publish  his  trifles,  introducing  interpreters  of  dreams  and 
astrologers  with  some  other  triflers.  We  shall  later  meet 
with  some  further  explanation  of  Thomas'  interest  in  such 
matters.  It  is  perhaps  significant  that  John  further  ex- 
presses his  confidence  that  Thomas  will  faithfully  protect 
those  in  whom  he  has  inspired  boldness  of  utterance,^  but 
it  would  be  too  much  to  assume  from  it  that  John  fears  any 
persecution  because  he  discusses  such  subjects.  More  likely 
he  merely  shares  the  common  medieval  fear  of  the  envious 
bite  of  critics  and  reviewers,  or  wishes  to  remind  Thomas 
of  his  need  of  his  patronage.  At  any  rate  he  closes  the 
prologue  with  the  request  that  Thomas  will  correct  any  mis- 
take in  either  book. 

In  opening  his  second  book  John  subscribes  to  the  proverb 
that  he  who  trusts  in  dreams  and  auguries  will  never  be 
secure  and  asks — like  Cicero  in  his  De  divinatione  - — what 
possible  connection  there  can  be  between  sneezes,  yawns, 
and  other  such  things  accepted  as  signs  and  the  events  which 
they  are  supposed  to  signify.  With  Isidore  and  Augustine  ^ 
— although  he  names  neither — he  rejects  those  empty  in- 

^  Polycrat.  II,  prologus.  "Alac- 
res  itaque  exeant  nugae  nostrae 
quas  serenitas  tua  prodire  iubet 
in  publicum,  ut  conjectores,  ma- 
thematicos,  cum  quibusdam  aliis 
nugatoribus  introducant;  quia  qui- 
bus  dedisti  egrediendi  audaciam, 
securitatis  quoque  fiduciam  prae- 
stabis."  The  following  words, 
"Connectantur   ergo  inferiora  su- 

perioribus"  seem  to  mean  that  the 
second  book  goes  on  where  the 
first  left  off,  but  perhaps  the  sug- 
gestion of  astrological  doctrine 
is  an  intentional  play  upon  words 
on  John's   part. 

'II,   12. 

^  De  doctrina  Christiana,  II,  20 
in   Migne,    PL   vol.  34. 

tion of 
Becket  to 
John's  dis- 





and  natu- 
ral signs. 

cantations  and  superstitious  ligatures  which  the  entire 
medical  art  condemns,  although  some  call  them  phys'tca} 
This  seems  like  an  admirable  approach  to  an  attitude  of 
rational  criticism,  but  John  after  all  may  be  merely  re- 
peating others'  statements  like  a  parrot,  and  he  entirely  spoils 
its  efifect  by  what  he  goes  on  to  say.  He  believes  that  the 
cloak  of  St.  Stephen  raised  the  dead,  and  that  such  practices 
as  saying  the  Lord's  prayer  while  plucking  or  admin- 
istering medicinal  herbs,  or  wearing  or  hearing  or  repeating 
the  names  of  the  four  evangelists,^  are  not  only  allowable 
but  most  useful.  He  adds  further  that  the  force  of  all  omens 
depends  upon  the  faith  of  the  recipient. 

Although  opposing  faith  in  omens  and  augury,  John 
admits  that  God  provides  signs  for  His  creatures,  such  as 
those  of  the  weather  which  sailors  and  farmers  learn  by 
experience  and  the  birds  are  not  ignorant  of,  or  the  indica- 
tions by  which  doctors  can  prognosticate  the  course  of  dis- 
eases. Unfortunately  the  demons  also  are  able  to  show  signs 
and  thus  lead  men  astray.  Mention  of  signs  which  pre- 
ceded the  fall  of  Jerusalem  then  leads  John  into  a  digression 
for  several  chapters  concerning  the  horrors  of  the  siege 
itself  and  Vespasian  and  Titus,  a  passage  which  was  very 
likely  inserted  because  Henry  H  and  Becket  were  at  that 
very  time  engaged  in  laying  siege  to  Toulouse. 

Returning  to  the  subject  of  signs,  John  interprets  the 

and  occult    yerse  in  Luke,  "There  shall  be  signs  in  sun  and  moon  and 

virtue.  ;  ° 

stars"  as  having  reference  to  unnatural  signs,  and  the  ob- 
scuration of  the  sun  during  Christ's  passion  as  not  a  nat- 
ural eclipse.^  John  explains  that  by  nature  he  means  "the 
accustomed  course  of  things  or  the  occult  causes  of  events 
for  which  a  reason  can  be  given."  ^  H,  however,  we  ac- 
cept Plato's  definition  of  nature  as  the  will  of  God  there 
will  be  no  unnatural  events.  But  John  would  distinguish 
between  the  gradual  growth  of  leaves  and  fruit  on  tree  or 


'  Thus,  it  will  be  recalled, 
Marcellus  Empiricus  and  Alex- 
ander of  Tralles  labelled  their 
superstitious    recipes- 

'  "Capitula  Evangelii." 
*II,   ir. 

*II,    12. 


vine  by  means  of  roots  drawing  nutriment  from  earth's 
vitals  and  sap  produced  within  the  trunk,  which  is  indeed 
marvelous  and  has  the  most  occult  causes,  and  the  perform- 
ance of  the  same  process  without  any  interval  of  time,  which 
he  regards  as  a  miracle  and  of  a  divine  height  which  trans- 
cends our  understanding.  After  drawing  this  distinction 
between  divine  miracle  and  wonders  wrought  by  occult 
virtues  in  nature  John  returns  again  to  the  subject  of  signs. 

For  some  chapters  the  topic  of  dreams  and  their  inter-   Interpre- 

pretation  absorbs  his  attention,^   and  at  first  he  discusses   t^tio"oi 
*^  '  dreams. 

in  an  apparently  credulous  and  approving  tone  "the  varied 
significations  of  dreams,  which  both  experience  approves 
and  the  authority  of  our  ancestors  confirms."  ^  He  explains 
that  now  the  dream  concerns  the  dreamer  himself,  now 
someone  else,  now  common  interests,  sometimes  the  public 
or  general  welfare;  and  he  quotes  Nestor  to  the  effect  that 
"trust  is  put  in  the  king's  dream  concerning  public  mat- 
ters." ^  After  referring  credulously  to  the  Sibylline  verses 
predicting  Christ's  incarnation,  passion,  and  ascension,  John 
continues  his  exposition  of  the  interpretation  of  dreams. 
He  explains  that  the  season  of  year  when  one  dreams,  the 
place  where  one  dreams,  and  the  personal  characteristics  of 
the  dreamer  must  all  be  taken  into  account;  that  sometimes 
interpretations  should  be  by  contraries,  and  again  from  like 
to  like.  But  then  he  checks  himself  with  the  words :  "But 
while  we  pursue  these  traditions  of  the  interpreters,  I  fear 
lest  we  deservedly  seem  not  so  much  to  trace  the  art  of 
interpretation,  which  is  either  no  art  at  all  or  an  idle  one, 
as  to  dream  ourselves."  He  adds  further,  "Whoever  fastens 
his  credulity  to  the  significations  of  dreams  evidently 
wanders  as  far  from  sincere  faith  as  from  the  path  of 
reason."  * 

^  II,  14-17.    _            _              _  nunc    suum     cuiusque     est,     nunc 

*  II,   14,   Quis  nescit  somniorum  alienum,    modo    commune,    inter- 

varias    esse    significationes,    quas  dum  publice  aut  generale  est.     Ut 

et  usus  approbat  et  maiorum  con-  enim  ait  Nestor,  de  statu  publico 

firmat   auctoritas.  regis   credatur  somnio. 

'II,      15.        Somnium  .  .  .  gerit  *  II,    17.     Sed   dum  has   coniec- 

imagines,    in    quibus    coniectorum  torum    traditiones    ex(s)equimur, 

praecipue    disciplina    versatur,    et  vereor    ne    merito    non    tarn    con- 


Dreams  of  John  then  attacks  the  Dream-Book  of  Daniel,  which  he 

Darnel.^"  says  "circulates  impudently  among  the  hands  of  the  curi- 
ous" and  gives  a  specific  interpretation  for  each  thing" 
imagined  by  the  dreamer.  He  denies  the  truth  and  authority 
of  the  book  and  argues  at  some  length  that  neither  Joseph 
nor  Daniel  would  have  composed  such  a  work,  and  that 
they  interpreted  dreams  by  divine  inspiration,  not  by  any 
occult  art  learned  in  Chaldea  or  Egypt.  In  the  first  place, 
the  method  of  interpretation  set  forth  in  this  book  is  faulty 
and  crude.  The  remainder  of  John's  argument  is  worth 
quoting  in  part : 

"Daniel  indeed  had  the  grace  to  interpret  visions  and 
dreams,  which  the  Lord  inspired  in  him,  but  it  is  inconceiv- 
able that  a  holy  man  should  reduce  this  vanity  to  an  art,  when 
he  knew  that  the  Mosaic  law  prohibited  any  of  the  faithful 
to  heed  dreams,  being  aware  how  Satan's  satellite  for  the 
subversion  of  men  is  transformed  into  an  angel  of  light  and 
how  suggestions  are  made  by  bad  angels.  Joseph,  too,  won 
the  rule  of  Egypt  by  his  ability  to  predict.  .  .  .  But  if  this 
could  have  come  from  any  science  of  human  wisdom,  I 
should  think  that  some  one  of  his  ancestors  before  him  would 
have  merited  it,  or  I  should  think  that  the  saint,  desirous  of 
serving  science  and  full  of  pious  impulses,  would  have  left 
the  art  as  a  legacy,  if  not  to  the  human  race  at  large,  which 
would  nevertheless  have  been  just,  at  any  rate  to  his  brothers 
and  sons.  Besides,  Moses,  trained  in  all  the  wisdom  of  the 
Egyptians,  either  was  ignorant  of  or  spurned  this  art,  since, 
detesting  the  error  of  impiety,  he  took  pains  to  exterminate 
it  from  among  God's  people.  Furthermore,  St.  Daniel 
learned  the  studies  and  wisdom  of  the  Chaldeans,  which,  as  a 
saint,  he  would  not  have  done,  had  he  thought  it  sinful  to 
be  instructed  in  their  lore.  And  he  had  companions  in  his 
education  whom  he  rejoiced  to  have  as  comrades  in  divine 
law  and  justice.     For  at  the  same  time  Ananias,  Axarias, 

iectoriam     ex(s)equi,  quae     aut  nificationibus    alligat    somniorum, 

nulla    aut    inania    ars  est,    quam  planum  est  quia  tarn  a  sinceritate 

dormitare   videamur   .  .   .   Verum  fidei  quam  a  tramite  rationis  ex- 

quisquis    credulitatem  suam    sig-  orbitat. 


Misael  learned  whatever  a  Chaldean  would  learn.  .  .  .  But 
notice  that  the  privilege  which  man  could  not  confer  was 
given  to  Daniel  alone,  to  bring  to  light  the  riddles  of  dreams 
and  to  scatter  the  obscurities  of  figures.  .  ,  ." 

Pointing  out  that  Daniel  read  the  king's  thoughts  and 
prophesied  "the  mystery  of  salvation"  in  addition  to  in- 
terpreting the  dream,  John  then  concludes  sarcastically: 
"Are  the  interpreters  of  dreams  thus  wont  to  examine 
thoughts  and  remove  obscurities,  to  explain  what  is  involved 
and  illuminate  the  darkness  of  figures?  If  there  is  any  who 
enjoys  a  like  portion  of  grace,  let  him  join  Daniel  and  Joseph 
and  like  them  ascribe  to  God  the  glory.  He  whom  the  spirit 
of  truth  does  not  illume  vainly  puts  his  confidence  in  the  art 
of  dreams."  ^ 

John  concludes  that  many  dreams  are  the  work  of  The 
demons.^  Especially  as  of  this  sort  he  classifies  the  illu-  delusion, 
sions  of  those  who  think  that  they  have  taken  part  during 
the  night  in  witches'  Sabbats.  "What  they  suffer  in  spirit 
they  most  wretchedly  and  falsely  believe  to  have  occurred 
in  the  body.^  And  such  dreams  come  mainly  to  women, 
feeble-minded  men,  and  those  weak  in  the  Christian  faith. 
Too  much  stress  must  not,  however,  be  laid  upon  this 
apparent  opposition  to  the  witchcraft  delusion."*  John 
admits  that  the  demons  send  dreams,  and  if  he  denies  their 
verity,  he  merely  repeats  a  hesitation  as  to  the  extent  and 
reality  of  the  power  of  demons  over  the  body  of  men  and 
the   world  of   nature   which  we   have   frequently   met   in 

*  Polycrat.   II,    17.     Gratian   ap-  nem  forte  accendens  aut  avaritiam 

pears   to  refer  to  the  same  book  aut  dominandi  ingerens  appetitum 

on     oneiromancy     in     his     Deere-  aut    quidquid    huiusmodi    est    ad 

titsn,   Secunda  pars,  Causa  XXVI,  subversionem        animae,        procul 

Quaest.    vii,    cap.    16,    "somnialia  dubio    aut    caro   aut    spiritus    ma- 

scripta  et  falso  in  Danielis  nomine  Hgnus  immittit. 

intitulata."  ^11,  17  (Migne,  col.  436),  Webb 

^11,    17    (Webb   I,    100).     Quis  I,  loo-i. 

huius   f  acti   explicet   rationem  nisi  *  John   is   perhaps   influenced   by 

quod     boni     spiritus     vel     maligni  a    similar   passage    in    the   Canon, 

exigentibus   hominum    meritis    eos  Ut    episcopi    (Burchard,    Deer  eta. 

erudiunt    vel    illuduiit?  .  .  .  Quod  X,  l). 
si    materiam    vitiis    afferat,    libidi- 


patristic  literature  and  which  is  due  to  a  natural  reluctance 
to  admit  that  their  magic  is  as  real  as  God's  miracles. 
Preva-  From  divination  by  dreams  and  demons  John  passes  to 

astrology,  astrology.  To  start  with  he  admits  the  attraction  which 
the  art  has  for  men  of  intellect  in  his  own  time.  "Would," 
he  exclaims,  "that  the  error  of  the  mathematici  could  be  as 
readily  removed  from  enlightened  minds  as  the  works  of 
the  demons  fade  before  true  faith  and  a  sane  consciousness 
of  their  illusions.  But  in  it  men  go  astray  with  the  greater 
peril  in  that  they  seem  to  base  their  error  upon  nature's 
firm  foundation  and  reason's  strength."  ^  Beginning  with 
mathematical  and  astronomical  truths  based  on  nature,  rea- 
son and  experience,  they  gradually  slip  into  error,  sub- 
mitting human  destiny  to  the  stars  and  pretending  to 
knowledge  which  belongs  to  God  alone. 
John's  John  ridicules  the  astrologers  for  attributing  sex  to  the 

upon  it.  stars  and  stating  the  exact  characteristics  and  influences  of 
each  planet,  when  they  cannot  agree  among  themselves 
whether  the  stars  are  composed  of  the  four  elements  or 
some  fifth  essence,  and  when  they  are  confounded  by  a 
schoolboy's  question  whether  the  stars  are  hard  or  soft.^ 
He  grants  that  the  sun's  heat  and  the  moon's  control  of 
humors  as  it  waxes  and  wanes  are  potent  forces,  and  that 
the  other  heavenly  bodies  are  the  causes  of  many  utilities, 
and  that  from  their  position  and  signs  the  weather  may  be 
predicted.  But  he  complains  that  the  astrologers  magnify 
the  influence  of  the  stars  at  the  expense  of  God's  control  of 
nature  and  of  human  free  will.  "They  ascribe  everything 
to  their  constellations."  Some  have  even  reached  such  a 
degree  of  madness  that  they  believe  that  an  image  can  be 
formed  in  accordance  with  the  constellations  so  that  it  will 
receive  the  spirit  of  life  at  the  nod  of  the  stars  and  will 

*  II,     i8.      Possit     utinam     tarn  Verumtamen    eo    periculosius    er- 

facile     mathematicorum     error    a  rant   quo   in   soliditate  naturae  et 

praestantioribus     animis     amoveri  vigore  rationis  suum   fundare  vi- 

quam    leviter    in    conspectu    verae  dentur  crrorem. 

fidei  et  sanae  conscientiae  istarum  '  II,  19. 
illusionum   demonia   conquiescunt. 


reveal  the  secrets  of  hidden  truth."  ^  Whether  John  has 
some  magic  automaton  or  merely  an  engraved  astrological 
image  in  mind  is  not  entirely  clear. 

John  is  aware,  however,  that  many  astrologers  will  deny  Does 
that  their  science  detracts  in  any  way  from  divine  preroga-  jm^Jiy  fftai 
tive  and  power,  and  will  "appear  to  themselves  to  excuse  necessity? 
their  error  quite  readily"  by  asserting  with  Plotinus  that 
God  foreknew  and  consequently  foredisposed  everything 
that  is  to  occur,  and  that  the  stars  are  as  much  under  his 
control  as  any  part  of  nature.^  But  John  will  have  none 
of  this  sort  of  argument.  "These  hypotheses  of  theirs  are 
indeed  plausible  but  nevertheless  venom  lies  under  the  honey. 
For  they  impose  on  things  a  certain  fatal  necessity  under  the 
guise  of  humility  and  reverence  to  God,  fearing  lest  his 
intent  should  perchance  alter,  if  the  outcome  of  things  were 
not  made  necessary.  Furthermore,  they  encroach  upon  the 
domain  of  divine  majesty,  when  they  lay  claim  to  that  sci- 
ence of  foreseeing  times  and  seasons,  which  by  the  Son's 
testimony  are  reserved  to  the  power  of  the  Father,  even  to 
the  degree  that  they  were  hid  from  the  eyes  of  those  to  whom 
the  Son  of  God  revealed  whatever  He  heard  from  the 
Father."  ^ 

John  furthermore  contends  that  divine  foreknowledge 
does  not  require  fatal  necessity.  For  instance,  although 
God  knew  that  Adam  would  sin,  Adam  was  under  no  com- 
pulsion to  do  so.  God  knew  that  by  his  guilt  Adam  would 
bring  death  into  the  world,  but  no  condition  of  nature  im- 
pelled him  to  this ;  in  the  beginning  man  was  immortal.  At 
this  point  John  wanders  off  into  a  joust  at  the  Stoics  and 
Epicureans,  whom  he  censures  as  equally  in  error,  since  the 
one  subjected  all  to  chance,  the  other  to  necessity.  It  is 
true,  John  argues,  that  I  know  a  stone  will  fall  to  earth  if  I 
hurl  it  skywards,  but  it  does  not  act  under  necessity,  for 
it  might  fall  or  not."     But  that  it  does  fall,  "though  not 

*II,     19      (Migne,     col.     442).  festabit  arcana. 

Webb,   I,   112.  ..  .  stellarum  nutu  *II,  19. 

recipiet    spiritum    vitae    et   consu-  '  II,  20. 
lentibus    occultae    veritatis    mani- 

1 66 


lame  con- 

of  magic. 

necessary,  is  true."  John  presently  recognizes  that  he  has 
given  away  his  previous  argument  against  astrology  and 
that  the  devotee  of  the  stars  will  say  that  he  does  not 
care  whether  his  predictions  are  necessary  or  not  provided 
they  are  true.  "  'Nor  does  it  make  any  difference  to  me,'  says 
the  devotee  of  the  stars,  'whether  the  affair  in  question  might 
be  otherwise,  provided  I  am  not  doubtful  that  it  will  be  (as 
I  think.)'"! 

John  accordingly  resorts  to  other  arguments  and  to 
facetious  sarcasm  to  cover  his  confusion.  Then  he  recovers 
sufficiently  to  reiterate  his  belief  that  God  frequently  inter- 
feres in  the  operation  of  nature  by  special  providences ;  and 
asserts  that  God  has  been  known  to  change  His  mind,  while 
the  astrologers  assert  that  the  stars  are  constant  in  their 
influences.  Expressing  doubt,  however,  whether  Thomas 
Becket  will  be  convinced  by  his  arguments,  especially  the 
one  concerning  fate  and  Providence,  or  whether  he  will 
not  laugh  up  his  sleeve  at  such  a  clumsy  attempt  to  refute 
so  formidable  a  doctrine,  John  lamely  concludes  by  citing 
Augustine  and  Gregory  against  the  art,  and  by  affirming 
that  every  astrologer  whom  he  has  known  has  come  to  some 
bad  end,^  in  which  assertion  he  probably  simply  echoes 

Resuming  his  discussion  of  the  varieties  of  magic  John 
briefly  dismisses  necromancers  with  the  hon  mot  that  those 
deserve  death  who  try  to  acquire  knowledge  from  the  dead.^ 
A  number  of  other  terms  in  Isidore's  list — auspices,  augurs, 
salissatorcs,  arioli,  pythonici,  aruspices — he  says  it  is  need- 
less to  discuss  further  since  these  arts  are  no  longer  prac- 
ticed in  his  day,  or  at  least  not  openly.  Turning  to  more 
living  superstitions  of  the  present,  he  explains  that 
chiromancy  professes  to  discern  truths  which  lie  hidden  in 
the  wrinkles  of  the  hands,  but  that  since  there  is  no  ap- 

^  Cap.  24,  nee  mea,  inquit  astro- 
rum  secretarius,  interest  an  aliter 
esse  possit,  dum  id  de  quo  agitur 
ita  futurum  esse  non  dubitem. 

'John's    argument    against    as- 

trology extends  from  the  i8th  to 
the    26th    chapter    of    the    second 
book  of  the  Polycraticus. 
'II,  27. 




parent  reason  for  this  belief  it  is  not  necessary  to  contra- 
vert  it. 

John  wishes  to  ask  Thomas  one  thing,  however,  and 
that  is  what  triflers  of  this  sort  say  when  they  are  inter- 
rogated concerning  uncertain  future  matters.  He  knows 
that  Becket  is  famihar  with  such  men  because  on  the  occa- 
sion of  a  recent  royal  expedition  against  Brittany  he  con- 
sulted both  an  aruspex  and  a  chiromancer.  John  notes  that 
a  few  days  afterwards  Thomas  "lost  without  warning  the 
morning-star  so  to  speak  of  your  race,"  and  warns  him 
that  such  rhen  by  their  vanity  deserve  to  be  consulted  no 
more.  This  gentle  rebuke  did  not  avail,  however,  to  wean 
Thomas  entirely  from  his  practice  of  consulting  diviners, 
which  he  continued  to  do  even  after  he  became  Archbishop 
of  Canterbury.  In  a  letter  written  to  the  future  martyr 
and  saint  in  11 70  John  again  chides  Thomas  for  having 
delayed  certain  important  letters  because  he  had  been  "de- 
luded by  soothsayings  which  were  not  of  the  Spirit"  and 
exhorts  him  "So  let  us  renounce  soothsayings  in  the 
future."  1 

Despite  his  previous  declaration  that  he  need  not  dis- 
cuss the  pythonici,  John  now  proceeds  to  do  so,  listing  in- 
stances of  ambiguous  and  deceptive  Delphic  oracles  and  dis- 
cussing at  length  the  well-worn  subject  of  Saul  and  the 
witch  of  Endor.  He  concludes  the  chapter  by  a  warning 
against  abuse  of  the  practice  of  exorcism :  "For  such  is  the 
slyness  of  evil  spirits  that  what  they  do  of  their  own  accord 
and  what  men  do  at  their  suggestion,  they  with  great  pains 
disguise  so  that  they  appear  to  perform  it  unwillingly.  They 
pretend  to  be  coerced  and  simulate  to  be  drawn  out  as  it  were 
by  the  power  of  exorcisms,  and  that  they  may  be  the  less 
guarded  against  they  compose  exorcisms  apparently  ex- 
pressed in  the  name  of  God  or  in  the  faith  of  the  Trinity  or 
in  the  power  of  the  incarnation  or  passion ;  and  they  transmit 
the  same  to  men  and  obey  men  who  use  these,  until  they 
finally  involve  them  with  themselves  in  the  crime  of  sacrilege 
^Epistola  297  (Migne,  cols.  345-46). 

tion of 

Witch  of 



1 68 



science  and 

and  penalty  of  damnation.  Sometimes  they  even  transform 
themselves  into  angels  of  light,  they  teach  only  things  of 
good  repute,  forbid  unlawful  things,  strive  to  imitate  purity, 
make  provision  for  needs,  so  that,  as  if  good  and  favoring, 
they  are  received  the  more  familiarly,  are  heard  the  more 
kindly,  are  loved  the  more  closely,   are  the  more   readily 

obeyed.     They   also   put   on   the   guise   of   venerable   per- 

"  1 
sons.  .  .  .    ^ 

"The  speciilarii,"  John  continues,  "flatter  themselves 
that  they  immolate  no  victims,  harm  no  one,  often  do  good 
as  when  they  detect  thefts,  purge  the  world  of  sorceries, 
and  seek  only  useful  or  necessary  truth."  ^  He  insists  that 
the  success  of  their  efforts  is  none  the  less  due  to  demon 
aid.  John  tells  how  as  a  boy  he  was  handed  over  for  in- 
struction in  the  Psalms  to  a  priest  who  turned  out  to  be  a 
practitioner  of  this  variety  of  magic,  who  after  performing 
various  adjurations  and  sorceries  tried  to  have  John  and 
another  boy  look  into  polished  basins  or  finger-nails  smeared 
with  holy  oil  or  chrism  and  report  what  they  saw.  The 
other  boy  saw  some  ghostly  shapes  but  John  thanks  God 
that  he  could  see  nothing  and  so  was  not  employed  hence- 
forth in  this  manner.  He  adds  that  he  has  known  many 
specularii  and  that  they  have  all  suffered  loss  of  their  sight 
or  some  other  evil  except  the  aforesaid  priest  and  a  deacon, 
and  that  they  took  refuge  in  monasteries  and  later  suffered 
evils  above  their  fellows  in  their  respective  congregations. 

John  closes  his  second  book  with  a  chapter  on  natural 
scientists  and  medical  men,  for  he  seems  to  apply  the  term 
physici  in  both  senses,  although  towards  the  close  of  the 
chapter  he  also  employs  the  word  medici.  He  begins  by 
saying  that  it  is  permissible  to  consult  concerning  the  future 
anyone  who  has  the  spirit  of  prophecy  or  who  from  scien- 
tific training  knows  by  natural  signs  what  will  happen  in 
the  bodies  of  animals,  or  who  "has  learned  experimentally 
the  nature  of  the  time  impending,"  provided  only  that  these 
latter  men  say  and  do  nothing  prejudicial  to  the  Christian 
'II,  27;  Webb,  I,  iss-56.  MI.  28. 


faith.  But  sometimes  the  physici  attribute  too  much  to 
nature/  and  John  has  heard  many  of  them  disputing  con- 
cerning the  soul  and  its  virtues  and  operations,  the  increase 
and  diminution  of  the  body,  the  resurrection,  and  the  crea- 
tion, in  a  way  far  from  accord  with  the  Christian  faith. 
"Of  God  Himself  too  they  sometimes  so  speak,  'As  if 
earth-born  giants  assailed  the  stars.'  "  ^  John  recognizes, 
however,  their  knowledge  of  animals  and  medicine,  al 
though  he  finds  their  theories  sometimes  in  conflict.  As  fot 
practicing  physicians,  he  dares  not  speak  ill  of  them,  fob' 
he  too  often  falls  into  their  hands,  and  he  grants  that  no 
one  is  more  necessary  or  useful  than  a  good  doctor.  John 
makes  considerable  use  of  the  Natural  History  of  Pliny 
and  of  Solinus,  and  sometimes  for  occult  or  marvelous 
phenomena,  as  when  he  cites  Pliny  concerning  men  who 
have  the  power  of  fascination  by  voice  and  tongue  or  by 
their  glances,  and  adds  the  testimony  of  the  Physiogno- 

It  may  be  well  to  review  and  further  emphasize  some  gummary. 
of  the  chief  features  of  John's  rather  rambling  discussion. 
Despite  its  frequent  quotations  from  classic  poets  and 
moralists,  it  is  theological  in  tone  and  content  to  a  degree 
perhaps  greater  than  I  have  succeeded  in  suggesting,  for  to 
repeat  all  its  scriptural  passages  would  be  tedious.  There 
is  even  some  theological  jealousy  and  suspicion  of  natural 
science  shown.  John  perhaps  more  nearly  duplicates  the 
attitude  of  Augustine  than  that  of  any  other  writer.  Magic 
is  represented  as  inevitably  associated  with,  and  the  work 
of,  demons.  John  sometimes  charges  the  magic  arts  with 
being  irrational  or  injurious,  but  these  charges  are  in  a  way 
but  corollaries  of  his  main  thesis.   The  arts  must  be  harmful 

*  II,  29  (Migne,  col.  475).   Licet  tamen    his     posterioribus     nequa- 

tamen  ut  de  futuris  aliquis  consu-  quam  quis  ita  aurem  accommodet 

latur,    ita    quidem    si    aut    spiritu  ut  fidei  aut   religioni   praejudicet. 

polleat    prophetiae,    aut    ex    natu-  ...  At      physici,      dum      naturae 

ralibus    signis   quid   in   corporibus  nimium  auctoritatis  attribuunt,  in 

animalium     eveniat     physica     do-  auctorem  naturae  adversando  fidei 

cente    cognovit,    aut   si   qualitatem  plerumque  impingunt. 

temporis     imminentis     experimen-  ^  Webb,   I.   xxxiii   and   xxxv. 

torum      indiciis       colligit.      Dum  'V,  15    (Webb,  I,  345). 

170     MAGIC  AND  EXPERIMENTAL  SCIENCE      chap,  xli 

since  demons  are  concerned  with  them,  while  the  influence 
of  demons  seems  the  only  rational  explanation  for  their  ex- 
istence. John  repeats  the  old  Isidorian  defiwition  of  magic 
but  he  adds  some  current  superstitions  and  shows  that  the 
magic  arts  are  far  from  having  fallen  into  disuse.  Finally 
he  shows  us  how  vain  must  have  been  all  the  ecclesiastical 
thunders  and  warnings  of  demons  and  damnation,  like  his 
own,  directed  against  magic,  from  the  fact  that  not  merely 
kings  of  the  past  like  Saul  and  Pharaoh,  but  clergy  of  the 
present  themselves — a  priest  and  a  deacon,  a  chancellor 
and  an  archbishop  of  England — practice  or  patronize  such 
arts.  Sometimes  John's  own  condemnation  of  them  seems 
a  bit  perfunctory;  he  takes  more  relish,  it  seems  at  times, 
in  describing  them.  Again,  as  in  the  case  of  astrology,  he 
evidently  feels  that  his  opposition  will  be  of  little  avail. 





Daniel's  education — (Bibliographical  note^ — Defense  of  Arabian 
learning — A  moderate  treatment  of  moot  points  between  science  and 
religion — The  four  elements  and  fifth  essence — Superiors  and  in- 
feriors— Daniel's  astronomy — Astrological  argument — Astrology  and 
other  sciences — Daniel  and  Greek :  a  misinterpretation — Daniel  and  the 
church  :  a  misinterpretation — Daniel's  future  influence — Roger  of  Here- 
ford— An  astrology  in  four  parts — Another  astrology  in  four  parts — 
Book  of  Three  General  Judgments — Summary. 

In  discussing  Gerard  of  Cremona  in  a  previous  chapter  we   Daniel's 
noticed  the  studies  at  Toledo  of  Daniel  de  Merlai  or  of   ^^"^^^^°"- 
Morley,  how  he  heard  Gerard  translate  the  Almagest  into 

In  the  following  bibliographical 
note  the  MSS  will  be  listed  first 
and  then  the  printed  works  by  or 
concerning  Daniel  of  Morley 

Arundel  Z77y  I3th  century,  well- 
written  small  quarto,  fols.  88-103, 
"Philosophia  magistri  danielis  de 
merlai  ad  iohannem  Norwicensem 
episcopum.  .../...  Explicit 
liber  de  naturis  inferiorum  et  su- 
periorum."  Until  very  recently 
this  was  supposed  to  be  the  only 
MS  of  Daniel's  sole  extant  work. 
No  other  treatise  has  as  yet  been 
identified  as  his,  but  several  other 
MSS  may  be  noted  of  the  whole 
or  parts  of  the  aforesaid  "Philo- 
sophia" or  "Liber  de  naturis  in- 
feriorum et  superiorum." 

Corpus  Christi  95,  13th  century, 
where,  according  to  K.  Sudhof? 
in  the  publication  noted  below, 
the  first  two  or  three  books 
ascribed  to  William  of  Conches 
are  really  the  work  of  Daniel  of 

Berlin   Latin   Quarto   387,    12th 

century,  51  fols.  Attention  was 
called  to  it  by  Birkenmajer  in  the 
publication  noted  below.  It  has 
many  slips  of  copyists  and  is  re- 
garded by  him  as  neither  the 
original  nor  a  direct  copy  there- 
of. For  the  MS  to  be  written  in 
the  twelfth  century  this  would 
require  a  very  rapid  multiplica- 
tion and  dissemination  of  Daniel's 
treatise  which  was  at  the  earliest 
not  composed  until  after  1175. 

The  remaining  MSS  have  not 
hitherto  been  noted  by  writers  on 
Daniel : 

CUL  1935  (Kk.  Li),  13th  cen- 
tury, small  folio,  fols.  98r-io5r 
(and  not  to  iisr,  as  stated  in  the 
MSS  catalogue,  which  gives 
Daniel  Morley  as  the  author,  but 
De  creatione  mundi  as  the  title). 
From  rotographs  of  fols.  98r-v, 
loor,  and  I05r,  I  judge  that  this 
copy  is  almost  identical  with 
Arundel  277  but  somewhat  less 
legible    and   accurate. 

Oriel  7,  14th  century  folio,  fols. 




Latin  and  defend  the  fatal  influence  of  the  stars,  and  Gal- 
ippus,  the  Mozarab,  teach  concerning  the  universe  in 
"the  tongue  of  Toledo," — presumably  Spanish.  Like  Ade- 
lard  of  Bath,  Daniel  had  long  absented  himself  from  Eng- 
land in  the  pursuit  of  learning,  and  had  first  spent  some 
time  at  Paris,  apparently  engaged  in  the  study  of  Roman 
law.     He  became  disgusted,  however,  with  the  instruction 

194V-196V  (191-193,  according  to 
Coxe),  extracts  from  De  philoso- 
phia  Danielis,  opening,  "Nos  qui 
mistice."  .  .  .  They  are  immedi- 
ately preceded  by  extracts  from 
"Adelardi  Bathoniensis  .  .  .  de 
decisionibus    naturalibus." 

Corpus  Christi  263,  early  17th 
century,  fols.  i66v-67r,  "Ex  Dani- 
ele  de  Merlai  (or,  "Merlac,"  ac- 
cording to  Coxe)  "alias  Morley 
in  lib.  de  superioribus  et  inferiori- 
bus  primo  De  creationis  Mundi." 
This  MS  is  one  of  the  notebooks 
of  Brian  Twyne,  the  Elizabethan 
antiquary,  written  in  his  own 

Twyne  perhaps  made  his  ex- 
tracts from  Arundel  Z77<  for  im- 
mediately after  them  he  gives  ex- 
tracts "from  William  of  Conches 
who  is  together  with  Daniel  Mer- 
lai in  our  library,"  and  in  Arun- 
del T,y7  Daniel's  work  is  immedi- 
ately followed  by  that  of  William 
of  Conches.  Moreover,  of  the 
Selden  MSS  which  are  now  in 
the  Bodleian,  Supra  72  was  once 
owned  by  Lord  "William  How- 
arde"  who  died  in  1640,  while 
Supra  77  is  marked  "Arundel," 
referring  presumably  to  Thomas 
Howard,  Earl  of  Arundel,  who 
died  in  1646,  and  Supra  79  con- 
sists of  astronomical  and  astro- 
logical treatises  copied  by  Brian 
Twyne.  If  MSS  which  once  be- 
longed to  the  Arundel  collection 
and  to  Twyne  have  thus  passed 
somehow  into  the  Selden  collec- 
tion and  are  found  listed  there 
in  close  proximity  to  one  another, 
it  is  at  least  tempting  to  conjec- 
ture that  the  MS  containing  Dan- 
iel's treatise,  followed  by  that 
of  William  of  Conches,  which 
Twyne  says  was  once  "in  our  li- 

brary," somehow  became  Arundel 

BN  6415  does  not  contain  De 
philosophia  Danielis,  as  stated  by 
C.  Jourdain  (1838)  p.  loi ;  Jour- 
dain,  however,  regarded  Adelard 
of  Bath  as  the  author  of  De 
philosophia  Danielis,  and  BN 
6415  does  contain  Adelard's  Ques- 
tiones  naturales. 

Balliol  96,  15th  century,  a  com- 
mentary upon  Aristotle's  eight 
books  of  Physics  in  the  form  of 
questions  and  preceded  by  a  pro- 
logue, "Expliciunt  questiones  su- 
per 8  libros  phisicorum  compilate 
a  domino  Mario  magistro  in  arti- 
bus  Tholose  ac  canonico  de  Tim- 
sey."  This  does  not  seem  to  be 
a  work  by  Daniel  of  Morley ;  a 
cursory  examination  revealed  no 
reason  for  thinking  that  domino 
Mario  should  read  Daniele  Mer- 
lai, or  that  Tholose  should  be 
Thole  to. 

I  have  not  examined  two  MSS 
at  Queen's  College,  Oxford,  Reg. 
Ixxi;  Ixxiv,  4)  containing  pedi- 
grees of  the  Morlay  or  Morley 
family  which  may  possibly  throw 
some  light  upon  Daniel's  identity. 

All  the  printing  that  has  been 
done  of  Daniel's  treatise  has 
been  based  upon  Arundel  377.  J. 
O.  Halliwell,  Kara  Matheviatica, 
1839,  and  Thomas  Wright,  Bio- 
graphia  Literaria,  London,  1846, 
n,  227-2,0,  printed  the  preface  and 
other  brief  extracts  for  the  first 

Valentin  Rose  reprinted  the 
preface  and  also  published  the 
conclusion  in  his  article,  "Ptole- 
maeus  und  die  Schule  von  To- 
ledo," Hermes  VIII  (1874)  327- 
49.  Rose  also  gave  a  list  of  the 
authorities  cited  by  Daniel  which 




there  and  in  his  preface  ^  speaks  sarcastically  of  "the  brutes" 
(bestiales)  who  occupied  professorial  chairs  "with  grave  au- 
thority" and  read  from  codices  too  heavy  to  carry  {impor- 
tahiles)  which  reproduced  in  golden  letters  the  traditions  of 
Ulpian.  Holding  lead  pencils  in  their  hands,  they  marked 
these  volumes  reverently  with  obeli  and  asterisks.  They 
wished  to  conceal  their  ignorance  by  maintaining  a  digni- 
fied and  statuesque  silence,  "but  when  they  tried  to  say 
something,  I  found  them  most  childish."  Daniel  accordingly 
made  haste  away  to  Spain  to  acquire  the  learning  of  the 
Arabs  and  to  hear  "wiser  philosophers  of  the  universe." 
Finally,  however,  his  friends  summoned  him  back  to  Eng- 

makes  a  very  large  number  of 
omissions :  for  example,  f ol.  Sgr, 
"sicut  in  trismegisto  repperitur" 
and  "isidori" ;  f ol.  gov,  Aristotle, 
"philosophus,"  "Adultimus"  (?), 
"Platonitus";  fol.  giv,  "Esiodus 
autem  naturalis  scientie  professor 
omnia  dixit  esse  ex  terra,"  and 
so  on  for  "tales  milesius,"  Demo- 
critus,  and  other  Greek  philoso- 
phers ;  fol.  91V,  "sicut  ab  inex- 
pugnabili  sententia  magni  her- 
metis" ;  fol.  92r,  "audiat  ysidori 
in  libro  diff erentiarum" ;  fol.  92V, 
"unde  astrologus  ille  poeta  de 
creatione  mundi  ait,"  and  "mag- 
nus  mercurius"  and  "trismegistus 
mercurius"  and  "trismegistus 
mercurius  praedicti  mercurii  ne- 
pos" ;  fol.  97r,  "Aristotelis  in  li- 
bro de  sensu  et  sensato,"  "Albu- 
maxar,"  "Aristotelis  in  libro  de 
auditu  naturali" ;  fol.  98V,  "in  li- 
bro de  celi  et  mundo" ;  fol.  99V, 
Almagest,  and  "Ypocrati  et  gali- 
eno" ;  fol.  loov,  "liber  veneris 
.  .  .  quem  ed'dit  thoz  grecus," 
and  "aristoteles  ...  in  libro  de 
speculo    adurenti." 

Karl  Sudhoff,  Daniels  von 
Morley  Liber  de  naturis  inferio- 
rum  ei  superiorum  nach  der  Hand- 
schrift  Cod.  Arundel  277  des 
Britischen  Museums  zum  Ab- 
druck  gebracht,  in  Archiv  fiir  die 
Geschichte  der  Naturwissenschaf- 
ten  und  der  Technik,  Band  8,  1917 
(but  not  received  at  the  New 
York  Public  Library  until  July  8, 

1921).  Here  is  printed  for  the 
first  time  the  full  text  of  Daniel's 
treatise  as  contained  in  Arundel 
377,  but  from  photographs  taken 
years  before  and  apparently  with- 
out further  reference  to  the  MS 
itself.  Also  according  to  the  fol- 
lowing article  by  Birkenmajer, 
Sudhoff  sometimes  renders  the 
contractions  and  abbreviatione  in- 
correctly. As  Sudhoff's  text 
comes  late  to  my  hand,  I  leave 
my  references  to  the  folios  of 
Arundel  2)77  as  they  are.  These 
folios  (with  the  exception  of 
88v)  are  marked  in  Sudhoff's 

Alexander  Birkenmajer,  Bine 
neue  Handschrift  des  Liber  de 
naturis  inferiorum  et  superiorum 
des  Daniel  von  Merlai,  in  the 
same  Archiv,  December,  1920,  pp. 
45-51.  gives  some  variant  read- 
ings  from   Berlin  387. 

Dr.  Charles  Singer  has  pub- 
lished a  brief  account  of  Daniel 
of  Morley  in  a  recent  issue  of 

The  article  on  Daniel  in  DNB 
XXXIX  (1894)  by  A.  F.  Pollard 
is  criticized  by  Sudhoff  for  fail- 
ing to  mention  "Roses  wichtigste 
Vorarbeit ;"  but  I  observe  that 
Sudhoff  himself  similarly  fails  to 
mention  the  publications  by 
Halliwell  and  Thomas  Wright 
which  preceded  both  Rose's  and 
his  own. 

'  Fol.  88r. 


land  and  he  returned  "with  an  abundant  supply  of  precious 
volumes."  On  his  arrival  he  found  that  the  interest  in  Ro- 
man law  had  almost  completely  eclipsed  that  in  Greek  phi- 
losophy, and  that  Aristotle  and  Plato  were  assigned  to  ob- 
livion. Not  wishing  to  remain  the  sole  Greek  among  Ro- 
mans, he  prepared  to  withdraw  again  where  the  studies  in 
which  he  was  interested  flourished.  But  on  the  way  he  met 
John,  bishop  of  Norwich  ( 1 175-1200)  who  asked  him  many 
questions  concerning  his  studies  at  Toledo  and  the  marvels 
of  that  city,  and  concerning  astronomy  and  the  rule  of  the 
superior  bodies  over  this  sublunar  world.  Daniel's  present 
treatise  gives  a  fuller  reply  to  these  inquiries  than  time  then 
permitted  him  to  make. 
Defense  Daniel  warns  his  readers  at  the  start  not  to  scorn  the 

P.^^r^-        simple  language  and  lucid  style  in  which  the  doctrines  of 
bian  learn-  ^  .,  -iiti- 

ing.  the  Arabs  are  set  forth,  or  to  mistake  the  laborious  circum- 

locutions and  ambiguous  obscurities  of  contemporary  Latins 
for  signs  of  profound  learning.  Nor  should  anyone  be 
alarmed  because  he  presents  the  opinions  of  Gentile  philos- 
ophers instead  of  church  fathers  in  treating  of  the  crea- 
tion of  the  world.  They  may  not  have  been  Christians,  but 
where  their  opinions  seem  sound,  Daniel  believes  in  taking 
spoils  of  learning  even  from  pagans  and  infidels,  as  God 
instructed  the  Hebrews  to  do  in  the  case  of  the  golden  and 
silver  vessels  of  the  Egyptians.  Thus  he  borrows  the  theory 
of  a  triple  universe  from  an  Arabic  work.  The  first  uni- 
verse exists  only  in  the  divine  mind  and  is  neither  visible 
nor  corporeal,  but  is  eternal.  The  second  universe  is  in 
work  and  is  visible,  corporeal,  and  in  that  state  not  eternal. 
It  was  created  simultaneously  with  time.  The  third  universe 
is  imitative.  It  is  the  microcosm  and  was  formed  in  time 
and  is  visible  and  corporeal,  but  is  in  part  eternal.^  In  a 
later  passage  -  Daniel  again  defends  his  use  of  Arabian  au- 
thorities, contending  that  it  is  only  just  that  one  who  is  al- 
ready informed  concerning  the  opinions  about  things  super- 
celestial  of  the  philosophers  in  use  among  the  Latins  should 
» Fols.  88v-89r.  *  Fol.  95v. 


also  not  disdain  to  listen  attentively  to  the  views  of  the  Arabs 
which  cannot  be  impugned.  It  may  be  perilous  to  imitate 
them  in  some  respects,  but  one  should  be  informed  even  on 
such  points  in  order  to  be  able  to  refute  and  avoid  the  errors 
to  which  they  lead. 

In  general  plan,  tone,   and  content,   as  well  as  in  the    Amoder- 
title,  Philosophia,  Daniel's  treatise  roughly  resembles  that   ment^oT 
of  William  of  Conches.     As  Daniel  says  in  his  preface,  the    '"oot 

n  11-11-r-  •  r      ^  ■  i       PointS 

first  part  deals  with  the  mierior  portion  of  the  universe,  and  between 
the  second  part  with  the  superior  part.  The  work  proper  science 
opens  with  a  discussion  of  the  creation,  in  which  Daniel  ex-  ligion. 
presses  some  rather  original  ideas,  although  he  treats  of  such 
time-worn  topics  as  God's  creation  of  the  angels,  of  the 
universe,  and  of  man  in  His  own  image,  and  then  of  man's 
fall  through  concupiscence,  virtue  and  vice,  and  like  mat- 
ters. Later  he  argues  against  those  who  hold  that  the  world 
is  eternal,  but  he  is  not  quite  ready  to  accept  the  Mosaic  ac- 
count of  creation  entire.  He  argues  that  in  the  beginning 
God  created  heaven  and  earth  and  cites  Augustine,  Isidore, 
and  Bede  to  show  that  the  meaning  is  that  heaven  and  earth 
were  created  simultaneously.  He  then  adds  that  philoso- 
phers are  loath  to  accept  the  division  of  the  works  of  crea- 
tion over  six  days ;  in  human  works  it  is  true  that  one  thing 
must  be  done  before  another,  but  God  could  dispense  every- 
thing with  "one  eternal  word."  ^ 

The  four  elements  are  discussed  a  good  deal  and  it  is   The  four 
explained  that  fire  is  hot  and  dry,  air  is  hot  and  wet,  and  so   ^'^i"f^f".tf 
on.^    To  fire  correspond  cholera,  the  light  of  the  eyes,  and    essence, 
curiosity;  to  air,   blood,   words,  and  loquacity;   to   water, 
phlegm,  abundance  of  natural  humors,  and  lust;  to  earth, 
melancholy,  corpulence,  and  cruelty.^     Daniel,  like  Adelard 
of  Bath  and  William  of  Conches,  repeats  the  doctrine  that 
the  four  elements  are  not  found  in  a  pure  state  in  any  bodies 
perceptible  to  our  sense,  that  no  one  has  ever  touched  earth 
or  water,  or  seen  pure  air  or  fire,  and  that  the  four  elements 

^  Fol.  96.  » Fol.  89V. 

"Fol.  94V. 







are  perceptible  only  to  the  intellect.  Daniel  differs  from 
Adelard  and  William,  however,  in  denying  that  the  stars 
are  made  merely  out  of  the  purer  parts  of  the  four  elements. 
He  declares  that  the  Arabs  will  not  agree  to  this,  but  that 
the  higher  authorities  in  astrology  assert  that  the  stars  are 
composed  of  a  fifth  essence.^  Daniel  furthermore  speaks  of 
three  bonds  existing  between  the  four  elements,  stating  that 
scientists  call  the  relation  between  fire  and  air,  obedience; 
that  between  air  and  water,  harmony;  and  that  between 
water  and  earth,  necessity.^  This  faintly  reminds  one  of  the 
three  relationships  between  the  four  principles  of  things 
which  were  associated  with  the  names  of  the  three  fates  in 
the  essay  on  fate  ascribed  to  Plutarch. 

But  the  greatest  bond  in  nature  is  that  existing  between 
the  superior  and  inferior  worlds.  An  oft-repeated  and  fun- 
damental principle  of  Daniel's  philosophy,  and  one  which 
explains  the  division  of  his  work  into  two  parts,  is  the  doc- 
trine that  superiors  conquer  inferiors,  that  the  world  of  the 
sky  controls  the  world  of  the  four  elements,  and  that  the 
science  of  the  stars  is  superior  to  all  other  disciplines.^  "The 
sages  of  this  world  have  divided  the  world  into  two  parts, 
of  which  the  superior  one  which  extends  from  the  circle  of 
the  moon  even  to  the  immovable  heaven  is  the  agent.  The 
other,  from  the  lunar  globe  downwards,  is  the  patient."  ■* 
Much  depends,  however,  not  only  upon  the  force  emitted  by 
the  agent  but  upon  the  readiness  of  the  patient  to  receive 
the  celestial  influence. 

Daniel  of  course  believed  in  a  spherical  earth  and  a  geo- 
centric universe.  Influenced  probably  by  the  Almagest,  he 
explains  the  eccentrics  of  the  five  planets  in  a  way  which  he 
regards  as  superior  to  what  he  calls  the  errors  of  Martianus 
Capella  and  almost  all  Latins,  and  to  the  obscure  traditions 
which  the  Arabs  have  handed  down  but  scarcely  understood 
themselves.^     He  affirms  that  there  are  not  ten  heavens  or 

*Fol.  9SV. 
*Fol.  93V. 
*Fols.  95r-96. 

*FoI.  92r. 
"Fol.  loiv. 

xLii  DANIEL  OF  MORLEY  177 

spheres,  as  some  have  said,  but  only  eight,  as  Alphraganus 
truly  teaches.^ 

There  are  some  men  who  deny  any  efficacy  to  the  mo-  Astro- 
tions  of  the  stars,  but  Daniel  charges  that  they  for  the  most  argument, 
part  condemn  the  science  without  knowing  anything  about 
it,  "and  hold  astronomy  in  hatred  from  its  name  alone."  ^ 
He  replies  that  it  is  useful  to  foreknow  the  future  and  de- 
fends astrology  in  much  the  usual  manner.  He  details  the 
qualities  of  the  seven  planets  ^  whom  the  Arabs  call  "lords 
of  nativities."  ^  Also  he  takes  up  the  properties  and  at- 
tributes of  the  signs  of  the  zodiac  and  how  the  Arabs  divide 
the  parts  of  the  human  body  among  them.^ 

Daniel  interprets  the  scope  of  astrology  very  broadly.    Astrology 
,        .     ,  .    ,  1  .  r    •     1  and  other 

assertmg  that  it  has  eight  parts :  the  science  of  judgments,   sciences. 

or  what  we  should  call  judicial  astrology;  medicine;  nigro- 
mancy  according  to  physics;  agriculture;  illusions  or  magic 
{de  praestigiis)  ;  alchemy,  "which  is  the  science  of  the  trans- 
mutation of  metals  into  other  species ;  the  science  of  images, 
which  Thoz  Grecus  set  forth  in  the  great  and  universal  book 
of  Venus;  and  the  science  of  mirrors,  which  is  of  broader 
scope  and  aim  than  the  rest,  as  Aristotle  shows  in  the  treatise 
on  the  burning  glass."  ^  Except  that  magic  illusions  have 
replaced  navigation,  this  list  of  eight  branches  of  learning 
is  the  same  as  that  which  Gundissalinus  repeated  from  Al- 
Farabi,  but  which  they  called  branches  of  natural  science 
rather  than  of  astrology.  At  any  rate  we  see  again  the  close 
association  of  natural  science  and  useful  arts  with  astrology 
and  magic,  and  necromancy  and  alchemy,  and  with  pseudo- 
writings  of  Aristotle  and  Hermes  Trismegistus.  In  other 
passages  Daniel  cites  genuine  Aristotelian  treatises  "^  and 
speaks  of  "the  great  Mercury"  and  of  the  other  "Mercury 

*  Fol.  loov.  97r  and  98V ;  De  coelo  et  mundo, 
'Idem.  ibid.;  De  auditu  naturali,  fol.  gyr. 
*Fol.  99V.  I  do  not  know  if  Al-Farabl's  De 

*  Fol.  I02V.  ortu  scientiariim  is  meant  by  (fol. 
"Fol.  I02r.  96r)  "Aristotiles  m  libro  de  assig- 
"Fol.  lOOv.  nanda  ratione  unde  orte  sunt 
'' De   sensu   et   sensato   at   fols.      scientie." 



Daniel  and 
Greek:  a 

Trismegistus,  the  nephew  of  the  aforesaid."  ^  Despite  his 
subordination  of  alchemy  to  astrology  in  the  above  passage, 
Daniel  does  not  seem  to  have  it  in  mind  when  he  remarks 
that  there  are  "some  who  assign  diverse  colors  of  metals 
to  the  planets,"  as  lead  to  Saturn,  silver  to  Jupiter,  white  to 
Venus,  and  black  to  Mercury.^  He  goes  on  to  deny  that 
the  stars  are  really  colored  any  more  than  the  sky  is. 

Some  modern  scholars  have  drawn  inferences  from  Dan- 
iel's treatise  w-ith  which  I  am  unable  to  agree.  Mr.  S.  A, 
Hirsch  in  his  edition  of  Roger  Bacon's  Greek  Grammar 
follows  Cardinal  Gasquet  ^  in  observing  concerning  Daniel's 
preface,  "There  can  be  no  clearer  testimony  than  this  to  the 
complete  oblivion  into  which  Greek  had  in  those  days  fallen 
in  western  Europe,  including  England."  It  may  be  granted 
that  there  was  and  had  been  little  knowledge  of  Greek 
grammar  and  the  Greek  language  in  twelfth  century  Eng- 
land, but  that  is  not  what  Daniel  is  talking  about :  indeed, 
there  seems  to  be  no  reason  for  believing  Daniel  himself 
proficient  in  either  Greek  grammar  or  Greek  literature,  al- 
though he  was  shrewd  enough  to  question  whether  Chal- 
cidius  always  interpreted  Plato  aright.^  When  he  calls  him- 
self "the  only  Greek  among  Romans,"  he  means  the  only 
one  interested  in  Greek  philosophy  and  astronomy  and  in 
translations  of  the  same  made  largely  from  the  Arabic.  But 
earlier  in  the  same  century  we  have  seen  Adelard  of  Bath, 
William  of  Conches,  and  Bernard  Silvester  interested  either 
in  Platonism  or  Arabic  science,  and  the  anonymous  Sicilian 
translator  of  the  Almagest  from  the  Greek,  and  before  him 
Burgundio  of  Pisa  and  other  translators  from  the  Greek. 
Therefore  all  that  Daniel's  remarks  seems  to  indicate  is  that 

^  Fols.  92V,  91V,  and  Spr. 

'  Fol.  99r. 

^  Edmund  Nolan  and  S.  A. 
Hirsch,  The  Greek  Grammar  of 
Roger  Bacon,  Cambridge,  1902,  p. 
xlvii.  Gasquet,  "English  Scholar- 
ship in  the  Thirteenth  Century," 
and  "English  Biblical  Criticism  in 
the  Thirteenth  Century,"  in  The 
Dublin  Review  (1898),  vol.  123, 
pp.  7  and  ^62. 

*  Fol.  89V,  "Calcidius,  forte 
minus  provide  exponens  Plato- 
nem,  dixit.  .  .  ."  We  have  so 
often  been  assured  that  the 
Middle  Ages  knew  Plato  only 
through  Chalcidius'  translation 
of  the  Timaeus  that  I  think  it 
advisable  to  note  this  bit  of  evi- 
dence that  the  medievals  did  not 
swallow  their  Chalcidius  whole. 





there  was  less  interest  in  Greek  philosophy  in  England  after 
his  return  than  before  he  went  away,  owing  to  the  tempo- 
rary popularity  of  the  study  of  Roman  law.  But  he  knew 
where  the  studies  in  which  he  was  interested  still  flourished. 

A  more  serious  misinterpretation  of  Daniel's  relation  to  Daniel 
his  age  is  Valentin  Rose's  assertion  that,  because  of  Daniel's  church :  a 
addiction  to  Arabian  and  astrological  doctrines,  "his  book  ^j_s^^"^^5''" 
found  no  favor  in  the  eyes  of  the  church  and  was  shunned 
like  poison.  It  has  left  no  traces  in  subsequent  literature; 
no  one  has  read  it  and  no  one  cites  it."  ^  Rose  spoke  on  the 
assumption  that  only  one  copy  of  Daniel's  treatise  had 
reached  us,  whereas  now  we  know  of  several  manuscripts  of 
it.  If  it  did  not  become  so  widely  known  as  some  works, 
the  more  probable  reason  for  this  may  well  be  that  his  brief 
resume  of  Arabic  and  astrological  doctrines  appeared  too 
late,  when  the  fuller  works  of  Ptolemy  and  of  the  Arabic 
astrologers  were  already  becoming  known  through  complete 
Latin  translations.  Brief  pioneer  treatises,  like  those  of 
Adelard  of  Bath  and  William  of  Conches,  which  had  ap- 
peared earlier  in  the  century,  had  had  time  to  become  widely 
known  during  a  period  when  there  was  perhaps  nothing  fuller 
and  better  available.  But  Daniel's  little  trickle  of  learn- 
ing from  Toledo,  which  does  not  represent  any  very  consid- 
erable advance  over  Adelard  and  William,  might  well  be 
engulfed  in  the  great  stream  of  translations  that  now  poured 
from  Spain  into  Christian  western  Europe.-  It  is  unrea- 
sonable to  conjecture  that  Daniel's  book,  which  is  rather 
mild  anyway  in  its  astrological  doctrine,  and  which  was 
called  forth  by  the  favoring  questions  of  a  bishop,  was  then 
crushed  by  bitter  ecclesiastical  opposition;  when  we  know 
that  William's  book,  which  actually  encountered  an  ecclesi- 

'Rose  (1874),  p.  331.  Sudhpff 
(1917),  p.  4,  although  himself 
calling  attention  to  a  second 
manuscript  of  Daniel's  treatise, 
continues  to  hold  that  it  "scheint 
wenig  Verbreitung  gefunden  zu 

*  Sudhoflf  (1917),  p.  4,  expresses 

a  similar  opinion.  He  still,  how- 
ever, repeats  with  respect  Rose's 
assertion  that  the  treatise  "wie  ein 
Gift  beseitigt  worden,"  but  would 
explain  this  as  less  due  to  Daniel's 
astrological  doctrine  than  his  em- 
ploying Arabian  authorities  in- 
stead of  the  church  fathers. 






astical  opposition  of  which  we  have  no  evidence  in  Daniel's 
case,  nevertheless  continued  in  circulation  and  was  much 
cited  in  the  next  century;  and  when  we  know  that  both 
Arabic  and  astrological  doctrines  and  books  were  wide- 
spread in  Christian  western  Europe  both  in  the  twelfth  and 
thirteenth  centuries.  Treatises  with  more  poison  of  astrol- 
ogy in  them  than  his  were  read  and  cited  and  seem  to  have 
weathered  successfully,  if  not  to  have  escaped  unscathed, 
whatever  ecclesiastical  censure  may  have  been  directed 
against  them.  If  Daniel's  own  composition  did  not  secure 
a  wide  circle  of  readers,  the  chances  are  that  "the  multitude 
of  precious  volumes"  which  he  imported  from  Spain  to 
England  did.  And  if  the  work  of  the  pupil  remained  little 
cited,  the  translations  of  the  master,  Gerard  of  Cremona, 
who  had  taught  him  astrology  at  Toledo,  became  known 
throughout  western  Europe.  Thus,  while  Daniel's  personal 
influence  may  not  have  been  vast,  he  reflects  for  us  the  prog- 
ress of  a  great  movement  of  which  he  was  but  a  part. 

But  Rose  was  further  mistaken  in  his  assertion  that 
Daniel's  De  philosophia  "has  left  no  trace  in  subsequent  lit- 
erature; no  one  has  read  it  and  no  one  cites  it."  Not  only  is 
the  work  found  complete  in  three  manuscripts  of  which 
Rose  did  not  know,  and  of  which  one  appears  to  be  twice 
removed  from  the  original.  In  a  manuscript  of  the  four- 
teenth century  at  Oriel  College,  Oxford,^  in  the  fitting  com- 
pany of  excerpts  from  Adelard  of  Bath  and  Gundissalinus, 
are  over  three  double  column  folio  pages  of  extracts  drawn 
from  various  portions  of  the  Philosophia.  These  begin  with 
Daniel's  excuse  for  borrowing  the  eloquence  and  wisdom  of 
the  infidels  and  with  some  of  his  utterances  anent  the  crea- 
tion of  the  world.  They  include  a  number  of  his  citations 
of  other  writers,  his  story  of  the  two  fountains  outside  the 
walls  of  Toledo  which  varied  in  fulness  with  the  moon's 
phases  and  contained  salt  water  although  remote  six  days 
journey  from  the  sea,  and  other  bits  of  his  astrological  doc- 

^  Oriel  7,  fols.  194V-96V:  see  bib-      tion  of  it  and  the   following  MS 
liographical   note   at  beginning  of       of   Brian  Twyne. 
this  chapter  for  a  fuller  dcscrip- 

xLii  DANIEL  OF  MORLEY  i8i 

trine.  A  similar,  although  not  identical,  selection  of  pearls 
from  Daniel's  philosophy  is  found  in  one  of  the  notebooks 
of  Brian  Twyne,^  the  Elizabethan  antiquary,  who  gives  the 
title  of  Daniel's  work  as  De  superioribus  et  inferioribus  and 
makes  extracts  both  from  its  first  and  second  books.  Both 
Twyne  and  the  Oriel  manuscript's  writer  seem  to  have  been 
particularly  impressed  with  Daniel's  views  concerning  the 
creation,  rather  than  his  retailing  of  astrological  doctrine. 
Twyne  first  repeats  his  statement  that  the  quantity  of  the 
universe  reveals  the  power  of  its  Maker;  its  quality,  His 
wisdom ;  and  its  marvelous  beauty.  His  unbounded  good  will. 
Twyne  also  notes  Daniel's  phrase,  "court  of  the  world,"  for 
the  universe.  Both  Twyne  and  the  Oriel  manuscript  note 
the  passage  concerning  the  triple  universe,  and  another  in 
which  Daniel  tells  how  the  three  human  qualities,  reason, 
irascibility,  and  desire,  may  be  either  used  to  discern  and 
resist  evil,  or  perverted  to  evil  courses.  Both  also  notice  his 
contention  that  the  chaos  preceding  creation  was  not  hyle 
or  matter  but  a  certain  contrariety  present  in  matter. 

In  the  same  manuscript  with  Daniel's  treatise  is  a  work  Roger  of 
by  another  Englishman,  Roger  of  Hereford,-  who  was  con-  Hereford, 
temporary  with  him,  who  wrote  treatises  both  in  astronomy 
and  astrology,  and  who,  again  like  Daniel,  was  encouraged 
by  a  bishop.  We  are  not,  I  believe,  directly  informed  whether 
any  of  his  works  were  translations  from  the  Arabic  or 
whether  he  was  ever  in  Spain,  but  some  of  them  sound  as  if 
they  might  be  at  least  adaptations  from  the  Arabic.  At  any 
rate  Alfred  of  England  dedicated  to  Roger  the  tranblation 
which  he  made  from  the  Arabic  of  the  pseudo-Aristotelian 
De  vegetabilihus.  Astronomical  tables  which  Roger  calcu- 
lated for  the  meridian  of  Hereford  in  1178  are  based  upon 
tables  for  Marseilles  and  Toledo,  and  the  manuscript  of  one 
of  his  works  is  said  by  the  copyist  of  1476  to  have  been 

^  Corpus  Christi  263,  fols.  166-7.  8,  supplements  and  supersedes  the 

'  Professor  Haskins'  account  of  article  in  DNB.     Where  I  do  not 

Roger's  life  and  works  in  his  "In-  cite  authorities  for  statements  that 

troduction  of  Arabic  Science  into  follow   in  the  text,   they  may   be 

England,"  EHR  (191 5).  XXX,  65-  found  in  Haskins'  article. 



An  as- 
in  four 

taken  by  him  from  an  ancient  codex  written  in  Toledo  in 
the  year  1247.^  Other  astronomical  treatises  attributed  to 
Roger  are  a  Theory  of  the  Planets,  a  Treatise  concerning 
the  rising  and  setting  of  the  Signs,  and  a  Compotiis  which 
dates  itself  in  1176  and  is  addressed  to  a  Gilbert^  who 
seems  to  be  no  other  than  Foliot,  bishop  of  Hereford  until 
1 163  and  thereafter  bishop  of  London.  The  signature  of 
Roger  of  Hereford  attests  one  of  his  documents  in  1173- 
II 74.  In  1 1 76  in  the  preface  to  the  Compotits^  Roger 
speaks  of  himself  as  iuvenis,  and  the  heading  in  the  manu- 
script even  calls  him  "Child  Roger"  or  "Roger  Child,"  ^ 
but  he  also  says  that  he  has  devoted  many  years  to  learning, 
so  that  we  need  not  regard  him  as  especially  youthful  at  that 
time.  The  definite  dates  in  his  career  seem  to  fall  in  the 
decade  from  11 70  to  1180,  although  his  association  with 
Alfred  of  England  may  well  have  been  later. 

Professor  Haskins  ascribes  one  or  more  astrological 
works  to  Roger  of  Hereford  and  lists  a  number  of  manu- 
scripts with  three  diiTerent  Incipits}  Some  of  these  manu- 
scripts I  have  examined.  One  at  Paris  has  the  Titiilus,  "In 
the  name  of  God  the  pious  and  merciful,  here  opens  the 
book  of  the  division  of  astronomy  and  its  four  parts  com- 
posed  by   the    famous    astrologer    Roger    of    Hereford."  ® 

^  BN  10271,  fol.  203V,  quoted  by      and  called  him  Roger  Yonge. 

"  Haskins  is  not  quite  accurate 
in  saying  (p.  67),  "Royal  MS  12 
F,  17  of  the  British  Museum, 
catalogued  as  'Herefordensis 
indicia'  is  really  the  treatise  of 
Haly,  Dc  iudiciis,"  for  while  the 
MS  does  contain  Egidius  de 
Tebaldis'  translation  of  Haly  de 
iudiciis  in  a  fourteenth  century 
hand,  on  its  fly-leaves  are  in- 
serted in  a  fifteenth  century 
hand  both  "indicia  Herfordensis" 
and  a  treatise  on  conjunctions  of 
John  Eschenden.  Moreover,  all 
these  items  are  listed  both  in  the 
old  and  the  new  catalogue  of  the 
Roval  MSS. 

'  BN  10271.  written  in  T476.  1481 
A.  D.,  etc.,  fol.  179-,  "In  nomine 
dei  pii  et  misericordis  Incipit 
liber  de  divisione  astronomic  atque 

Haskins  (1915),  p.  67.  It  seems 
to  me,  however,  from  an  exam- 
ination of  the  MS  that  Roger's 
work  concludes  at  fol.  20iv,  "Ex- 
plicit liber,"  and  that  this  extract, 
"Ad  habendam  noticiam  quis  est 
vel  erit  dominus  anni,"  at  fol. 
203V,  may  be  another  matter. 

'  The  initial  letters  of  the  table 
of  contents  form  the  acrostic, 
"Gilleberto  Rogerus  salutes 
H.  D." 

'  Printed  in  part  by  T.  Wright, 
Bio  graph,  Lit.,  p.  90  ei  seq. 

*  Digby  40,  fol.  65,  "Pref atio 
magistri  Rogeri  Infantis  in  com- 
potum" ;  Haskins  conjectures  that 
Infantis  may  be  a  corruption  for 
Hereford,  or  an  equivalent  for 
the  iuvenis  of  the  text ;  but  Le- 
land  took  it  as   Roger's   surname 


Roger  explains  that  the  first  part  is  general  and  concerned 
with  such  matters  as  "peoples,  events,  and  states,  changes  of 
weather,  famine,  and  mortality."  The  second  is  special  and 
deals  with  the  fate  of  the  individual  from  birth  to  life's  close. 
The  third  deals  with  interrogations  and  the  fourth  with 
elections.  The  first  chapter  of  the  first  part  is  entitled,  "Of 
the  properties  of  the  signs  and  planets  in  any  country,"  and 
opens  with  the  statement  that  it  has  been  proved  by  experi- 
ence that  the  signs  Aries  and  Jupiter  have  dominion  in  the 
land  "baldac  and  babel  and  herach,"  Libra  and  Saturn  in 
the  land  of  the  Christians,  Scorpion  and  Venus  in  the  land 
of  the  Arabs,  Capricorn  and  Mercury  in  India,  Leo  and 
Mars  over  the  Turks,  Aquarius  and  the  Sun  in  Babylonia, 
Virgo  and  the  Moon  in  Spain.  The  other  five  signs  seem 
to  be  left  without  a  country.^  Chapter  two  tells  how  to  find 
what  sign  dominates  in  any  villa;  three,  of  the  powers  of 
the  planets  in  universal  events;  four,  of  the  science  of  the 
annual  significance  of  the  planets;  five,  knowledge  of  rains 
for  the  four  seasons;  six,  knowledge  of  winds  in  any  villa;  ^ 
nine,  the  twenty-eight  mansions  of  the  moon.  After  the 
tenth  chapter  distinguishing  these  mansions  as  dry  and  wet 
and  temperate,  the  second  part  on  nativities  opens  with  the 
retrospective  statement,  "Now  we  have  treated  of  the  first 
part  of  this  art,  omitting  what  many  astrologers  have  said 

de  eius  quatuor  partibus  composi-  sunt      numero      c.xx."      Unfortu- 

tus  per  clarum  Rogerium  Herfort  nately    I    have    not    been    able   to 

Astrologum."      The    text    proper  compare    edition    and    manuscript 

opens :    "Quoniam  principium  huic  in    detail.     Both    may    represent 

arti  dignum   duximus  de  quatuor  texts  of  late  date  which  have  re- 

eius  partibus  agamus."  arranged    or    added    variously    to 

^  This  chapter  is  almost  exactly  the    original,    whether    it    be    by 

like  the  first  chapter  of  the  first  John  or  Roger.    Or  both  John  and 

book    of     the     printed     edition    of  Roger    may    have    taken    similar 

John    of    Seville's    Epitome    totius  liberties    with    a    common    Arabic 

astrologiae,  and  the  general  plan  source.    John's  authorship  appears 

of  the  two  treatises  and  their  em-  to    be    supported    by    more    MSS 

phasis   upon   experience   are   very  than  Roger's. 

similar,  although  there  also  seem  "  Caps.  7  and  8,  at   fol.    i82r-v, 

to     be     considerable     divergences.  are,   "De  proprietate   signorum  in 

For  instance,  the  next  chapter  in  qualibet  terra"  and  "De  cognitione 

the  printed  text  is  different,  "De  de  bono  anno  vel  male." 
coniunctionibus    planetarum,    quae 


without  experience  and  without  reason."  ^  After  a  dozen 
chapters  on  the  significance  of  the  twelve  houses  in  na- 
tivities, the  author  again  asserts  that  in  his  discussion  of 
that  subject  he  has  said  nothing  except  what  learned  men 
agree  upon  and  experience  has  tested.^  After  devoting  three 
chapters  to  the  familiar  astrological  theme  of  the  revolution 
of  years,  he  takes  up  in  the  third  and  fourth  books  ^  inter- 
rogations according  to  the  twelve  houses  and  elections,  which 
are  made  in  two  ways  according  as  the  nativity  is  or  is  not 
known.  The  invocation  of  God  the  pious  and  compassion- 
ate in  the  Tittdiis  and  the  list  of  countries  and  peoples  in  the 
first  chapter  have  a  Mohammedan  and  oriental  flavor  and 
suggest  that  the  work  is  a  translation. 
Another  Different  from  the  foregoing  is  another  work  dealing 

m7our^     with  four  parts  of  judicial  astrology  which  the  manuscripts 
parts.  ascribe  to  Roger  of  Hereford.     Its  opening  words  *  and  the 

subjects  of  its  four  parts  all  differ  from  those  of  the  other 
treatise.  Its  first  part  deals  with  "simple  judgment";  its 
fourth  part,  with  "the  reason  of  judgment";  while  its  sec- 
ond and  third  parts  instead  of  third  and  fourth,  as  in  the 
foregoing  treatise,  deal  with  interrogations,  now  called 
Cogitatio,  and  elections.^  I  know  of  no  manuscript  where 
this  second  work  is  to  be  found  complete ;  in  fact,  I  am  in- 
clined to  surmise  that  usually  the  manuscripts  give  only  the 
first  of  its  four  parts. ^     It  professes  at  the  start  to  be  a 

*  Fol.  183V,  "lam  egimus  de  *  Berlin  964,  15th  century,  fol. 
prima  parte  huius  arte  omissis  que  87-,  "Quoniam  regulas  artis  as- 
astrologi  multi  sine  experimento  tronomie  iudicandi  non  nisi  per 
et  ratione  dixerunt."  diversa  opera  dispersas  invenimus 

*  Fol.  190V  (cap.  14,  de  revo-  universali  astrologorum  desiderio 
lutione  annorum  nativitatis),  satisfacere  cupientes.  .  .  ."  Other 
"lam   radicem  nativitatis  sermone  MSS  similar. 

complevimus  nee   diximus   nisi  in  *  Selden    supra    76,    fol.    3v,    de 

quibus    sapientes    convenerunt    et  simplici  iudicio,  de  cogitatione,  de 

experimentum    ex    ipsis    habetur."  electione,  de  ratione  iudicii. 

The     same     sentence     occurs     in  *  Digby   149,    13th   century,   fols. 

John  of  Spain,  Epitome  totius  as-  189-95,    ''Liber   de   quatuor    parti- 

trologiae,  1548,  II,  xx,  fol.  62v.  bus   astronomic   iudiciorum   editus 

'Book  3,  fols.  I92v-i99r,  has  16  a  magistro  Rogero  de  Herefordia. 

chapters;  Book  4,  fols.  199V-201V,  Quoniam  regulas  astronomie  artis 

has  ten.     The  division  into  chap-  .../...  Explicit  prima  pars." 

ters  is  different  in  the  printed  text  CUL    1693,    14th    century,    fols. 

ascribed  to  John  of  Spain.  40-51,   "Liber  Magistri  Rogeri  de 


brief  collection  of  rules  of  judicial  astrology  hitherto  only 
to  be  found  scattered  through  various  works.  Astrology  is 
extolled  as  an  art  of  incomparable  excellence  without  which 
other  branches  of  learning  are  fruitless.  "They  appear  to 
a  few  through  experiments ;  ...  it  gives  most  certain  ex- 
periments." ^  The  first  book  treats  of  the  properties  of  the 
signs  and  planets,  of  the  twelve  houses,  and  defines  a  long 
list  of  astrological  terms  such  as  respectus,  applicatio,  sepa- 
ratio,  periclitus,  solitudo,  cdlevatio,  translatio,  collatio,  red- 
ditto,  contradictio,  impeditio,  evasio,  interruptio ,  compassio, 
renuntiatio,  and  receptio.^  Some  tables  are  also  given,  in 
connection  with  one  of  which  we  are  told  that  the  longest 
hour  at  Hereford  excedes  the  shortest  by  eleven  degrees  and 
forty  minutes.^ 

To  Roger  is  also  ascribed  a  Book  of  Three  General  Book  of 
Judgments  of  Astronomy,  from  which  all  others  flow,  which    g/neral 
sometimes  is  listed  separately  in  the  manuscripts  and  appar-   Judg- 
ently  is  found  alone  as  a  distinct  work,^  but  in  other  manu- 
scripts ^  seems  to  be  an  integral  part  of  the  work  of  four 
parts  which  we  have  just  described.    Its  three  general  judg- 
ments are:  gaining  honors  and  escaping  evils;  intentio  vet 
meditacio,  which,  like  the  cogitacio  mentioned  above,  refers 

Herfordia  de  iudiciis  Astronomic.  astronomica  consideratio  .  .  .  / 
Quoniam  Regulas  artis  Astrono-  .  .  .  sed  non  respiciens  3.  Ex- 
mice  .../...  oportet    inspicere  plicit." 

diligenter      et      completur      Liber  In  the  following  MS  it  follows 
primus."  the  first  book  of  the  work  in  four 
I    shall    presently    show    reason  parts  but  is  listed  as  distinct  there- 
for thinking  that  Selden  supra  76  from  in  the  catalogue : 
and  MS  E  Musaeo  181  also  give  CUL    1693,    14th    century,    fols. 
only  the  first  part.  5i-59>   "Liber   de   tribus   generali- 
^  Selden  supra  76,  fol.  3r.  bus  iudiciis  astronomic  ex  quibus 
^  Selden  supra  76,  fol.  6,  has  only  cetera    omnia    defiuunt    editus    a 
those  terms  from  redditio  on;  the  Magistro    Rogero    de    Herfordia. 
others    will    be    found    in    MS    E  Quoniam  circa  tria  sit  (fit?)  om- 
Musaeo  181.  nis    astronomica    consideratio  .  .  . 
'  Selden  supra  76,  fol.  Sr.  /  .  .  .  minimus  vero  septem  hora- 
*  BN  7434,  14th  century,  ft  5,  de  rum  et  20  minutorum  etc."     This 
tribus     generalibus     iudiciis     as-  last  is  not  the  same  ending  as  in 
tronomie    ex    quibus    certa    (cete-  Dijon    1045,    but    would    seem    to 
ra?)    defluunt.  .  .  .  refer  to  the  length  of  the  shortest 

Dijon  1045    (the  same,  I  judge,  day. 

as    that    numbered    270    by    Has-  "  Selden    supra    76   and    MS    E 

kins),     15th    century,    fol.    172V-,  Musaeo  181. 
"Quoniam    circa    tria    fit    omnia 




to  interrogations;  and  comparatio  vel  electio  which  of  course 
is  elections.  Thus  the  second  and  third  parts  of  this  Book 
of  Three  General  Judgments  deal  with  the  same  subjects 
as  the  second  and  third  books  of  the  work  in  four  parts, 
which  makes  it  difficult  to  distinguish  them.  I  am  inclined 
to  think  that  in  those  manuscripts  where  the  Book  of  Three 
General  Judgments  seems  an  integral  part  of  the  work  in 
four  parts,  we  really  have  simply  the  first  of  the  four  parts, 
followed  by  the  Book  of  Three  General  Judgments}  At  any 
rate  it  seems  clear  that  most  of  Roger's  astrological  composi- 
tion is  on  the  theme  of  interrogations  and  elections.  Indicia 
Herefordensis,^  found  in  more  than  one  manuscript,  may 
come  from  a  fourth  work  of  his  or  be  portions  of  the  fore- 
going works. 

In  this  chapter  we  have  treated  of  two  Englishmen  of 
the  latter  half  of  the  twelfth  century  who  are  not  generally 
known.^    They  were  not,  however,  without  influence,  as  we 

*  As  we  have  already  seen  to  be 
the  case  in  CUL  1693,  fols.  40-51- 
59.  In  Selden  supra  76,  the  work 
in  four  parts  begins  at  fol.  3r, 
"Liber  magistri  Rogeri  Hereford 
de  iudiciis  astronomicis.  Quoniam 
regulas  artis.  .  .  ."  At  fol.  loy, 
Liber  de  tribus  generalibus  iudi- 
ciis astronomie  ex  quibus  cetera 
omnia  defluunt,  editus  a  magis- 
tro  Rogero  Hereford.  In  three 
books  and  a  prologue,  opening, 
"Quoniam  circa  tria  fit  omnis 
astronomica  consideracio.  .  .  ." 
The  question  then  arises,  do  fol. 
14V,  "Incipit  liber  secundus  de 
cogitatione.  Sed  quum  iam  de 
intentione  et  cogitatione  tractan- 
dum  .  .  ." ;  and  fol.  i8r,  "In- 
cipit liber  tercius  de  electione  vel 
operatione  per  quod  fiat  electio" ; 
have  reference  to  the  last  two 
books  of  Three  General  Judg- 
ments or  to  the  two  middle  books 
of  the  work  in  four  parts?  Ap- 
parently the  former,  since  there  is 
no  fourth  part  given;  at  fol.  20 
seems  to  open  another  treatise, 
Liber    de    niotibiis   planetarum. 

MS  E  Musaeo  181  has  the  same 
arrangement  as   Selden  supra  76, 

fols.  10-18,  but  ends  with  the  sec- 
ond book  De  cogitacione.  For 
the  first  of  the  four  parts  it  is 
fuller  than  Selden  supra  76,  fols. 

Laud.  Misc.  594,  fols.  I36-I37r, 
beginning  mutilated,  opens  "illius 
signi  et  duodenarie  ostendentis" 
and  ends  "secunda  si  vero  re- 
spiciens  tertia.  Explicit  liber  de 
quatuor  partibus  iudiciorum  as- 
tronomiae  editus  a  magistro 
Rogero  de  Hereford."  But  the 
closing  words,  "respiciens  tertia," 
are  those  connected  with  the  In- 
cipit of  the  Book  of  Three  Gen- 
eral Judgments  in  Dijon  1045,  a 
good  illustration  of  the  complexi- 
ties of  the  problem. 

'  Besides  the  fly-leaf  of  Royal 
12-F-17,  mentioned  above  in  a 
note,  Ashmole  192,  $2,  pp.  1-17, 
"Expliciunt  iudicia  Herfordensis 
multum  bona  et  utilia."  It  will 
be  noted  that  in  Selden  supra  76 
the  title  Dc  iudiciis  is  applied  to 
to  the  work  in  four  parts. 

^  Neither  name,  for  example, 
despite  the  devotion  of  both  to 
astrology,  appears  in  the  index  of 
T.    O.    Wedel's,    The    Mediaeval 


have  already  shown  in  the  case  of  Daniel  of  Morley  and  as 
the  number  of  manuscripts  of  the  works  of  Roger  of  Here- 
ford sufficiently  attests  for  him.  Daniel  and  Roger  show 
that  the  same  interest  in  astrology  and  astronomy  from  Ara- 
bic sources  prevails  at  the  close  of  the  century  in  England 
as  at  its  beginning  in  the  cases  of  Walcher,  prior  of  Malvern, 
and  Adelard  of  Bath.  Daniel,  like  Adelard,  illustrates  the 
relation  of  science  to  Christian  thought;  Roger,  like  Wal- 
cher, is  an  astronomer  who  makes  and  carefully  records  ob- 
servations of  his  own,^  while  he  trusts  in  astrology  as  based 
upon  experience.  As  Alfred  of  England  dedicated  his  trans- 
lation of  the  pseudo-Aristotelian  De  vegetabilibus  to  Roger, 
so  he  dedicated  his  De  motii  cordis  {On  the  Motion  of  the 
Heart)  to  a  third  Englishman,  Alexander  Neckam,  to  whom 
and  his  work  On  the  Natures  of  Things  {De  naturis  rerum) 
we  turn  in  the  next  chapter  for  a  picture  of  the  state  of  sci- 
ence in  his  time. 

Attitude    toward    Astrology    par-  nium     planetarum     compositi     a 

ticularly    in    England,    Yale   Uni-  magistro     Rogero     super     annos 

versity  Press,  1920.  domini  ad  mediam  noctem  Here- 

^  For  example,  in  the  same  MS  for  die  anno  ab  incarnatione  domi- 

with    Daniel    of    Alorley's    work,  ni    mclxxviii    post    eclipsim    que 

Arundel  377,  fol.  86v,  de  altitudine  contigit    Hereford    eodem    anno" 

Solis  etc.  apud  Toletum  et  Here-  (13    September), 
fordiam;  Ibid.,  "Anni  collecti  cm- 



Birth  and  childhood — Education — The  state  of  learning  in  his  time- 
Popular  science  and  mechanical  arts — His  works — De  naturis  rerutn — 
Neckam's  citations — His  knowledge  of  Aristotle — Use  of  recent  authors 
— Contemporary  opinion  of  Neckam — His  attitude  toward  natural 
science — Science  and  the  Bible — His  own  knowledge  of  science — In- 
credible stories  of  animals — A  chapter  on  the  cock — Effect  of  sin  upon 
nature — Neckam  on  occult  virtues — Fascination — His  limited  belief  in 
astrology — Neckam's  farewell. 

Birth  and 


In  the  year  1157  an  Englishwoman  was  nursing  two  babies. 
One  was  a  foster  child;  the  other,  her  own  son.  During  the 
next  fifty  years  these  two  boys  were  to  become  prominent 
in  different  fields.  The  fame  of  the  one  was  to  be  unsur- 
passed on  the  battlefield  and  in  the  world  of  popular  music 
and  poetry.  He  was  to  become  king  of  England,  lord  of 
half  of  France,  foremost  of  knights  and  crusaders,  and  the 
idol  of  the  troubadours.  He  was  Richard,  Cceur  de  Lion. 
The  other,  in  different  fields  and  a  humbler  fashion,  was 
none  the  less  also  to  attain  prominence;  he  was  to  be  clerk 
and  monk  instead  of  king  and  crusader,  and  to  win  fame  in 
the  domain  of  Latin  learning  rather  than  Provengal  liter- 
ature. This  was  Alexander  Neckam.  Of  his  happy  child- 
hood at  St.  Albans  he  tells  us  himself  in  Latin  verse  some- 
what suggestive  of  Gray's  lines  on  Eton : 

Hie  locus  aetatis  nostrae  primordia  novit 
Annos  felices  laetitiaeque  dies 
Hie  locus  'ingenuis  pueriles  imbuit  annos 
Artibus  et  nostrae  laudis  origo  fuit, 

A  number  of  years  of  his  life  were  spent  as  teacher 
at  Dunstable  in  a  school  under  the  control  of  the  monastery 


of  St.  Albans.  It  was  at  Paris,  however,  that  he  received 
his  higher  education  and  also  taught  for  a  while.  Scarcely 
any  place,  he  wrote  late  in  life,  was  better  known  to  him 
than  the  city  in  whose  schools  he  had  been  "a  small  pillar" 
and  where  he  "faithfully  learned  and  taught  the  arts,  then 
turned  to  the  study  of  Holy  Writ,  heard  lectures  in  Canon 
Law,  and  upon  Hippocrates  and  Galen,  and  did  not  find  Civil 
Law  distasteful."  This  passage  not  only  illustrates  his  own 
broad  education  in  the  liberal  arts,  the  two  laws,  medicine, 
and  theology,  but  also  suggests  that  these  four  faculties  were 
already  formed  or  forming  at  Paris.  Neckam  visited  Italy, 
as  his  humorous  poem  bidding  Rome  good-by  attests,  and 
from  two  of  the  stories  which  he  tells  in  The  Natures  of 
Things  ^  we  may  infer  that  he  had  been  in  Rouen  and 
Meaux.  In  12 13  Neckam  was  elected  abbot  of  Cirencester, 
and  died  in  12 17.  An  amusing  story  is  told  in  connection 
with  Neckam's  first  becoming  a  monk.  He  is  said  to  have 
first  applied  for  admission  to  a  Benedictine  monastery,  but 
when  the  abbot  made  a  bad  pun  upon  his  good  name,  saying, 
Si  bonus  es,  venias;  si  nequam,  nequaqiiani  (If  you  are  a 
good  man  you  may  come;  if  Neckam,  by  no  means),  he 
joined  the  Augustinians  instead.^ 

Neckam  gives  us  a  glimpse  of  the  learned  world  of  his  The  state 
time  as  well  as  of  his  own  education.  He  thinks  past  times  fng.^^*^"" 
happy,  when  he  recalls  that  "the  greatest  princes  were  dili- 
gent and  industrious  in  aiding  investigation  of  nature,"  and 
that  it  was  then  commonly  said,  "An  illiterate  king  is  a 
crowned  ass."  ^  But  he  is  not  ashamed  of  the  schools  of 
his  own  day.  After  speaking  of  the  learning  of  Greece  and 
Egypt  in  antiquity  and  stating  that  schools  no  longer  flour- 
ish in  those  lands,  he  exclaims,  "But  what  shall  I  say  of 

*I,  37  and  II,  158.  Aevi  Scriptores,  vol.  34,  London, 

'  For  references  to  the  sources  1863.    All  references  in  this  chap- 

for  the  above  facts  of   Neckam's  ter,    unless    otherwise   noted,   will 

life  see  the  first  few  pages  of  the  be  to  this  volume,  and  to  the  book 

preface  to  Thomas  Wright's  edi-  and    chapter    of    the   De    naturis 

tion  of  the  De  naturis  rerum,  and  rerum. 

the  De  laudibus  divinae  sapientiae,  '  II,  21. 
in    Rerum    Britannicarutn    Medii 


Salerno  and  Montpellier  where  the  diligent  skill  of  medical 
students,  serving  the  public  welfare,  provides  remedies  to 
the  whole  world  against  bodily  ills?  Italy  arrogates  to  it- 
self proficiency  in  the  civil  law,  but  celestial  scripture  and 
the  liberal  arts  prefer  Paris  to  all  other  cities  as  their  home. 
And  in  accord  with  Merlin's  prophecy  the  wisdom  now 
flourishes  at  Oxford  which  in  his  time  was  in  process  of 
transfer  to  Ireland."  ^  Neckam's  assertion  that  there  were 
no  schools  in  the  Greece  and  Egypt  of  his  day  is  interesting 
as  implying  the  insignificance  of  Byzantine  and  Mohamme- 
dan learning  in  the  second  half  of  the  twelfth  century.  He 
perhaps  does  not  think  of  Constantinople  as  in  "Greece," 
but  in  Egypt  he  must  certainly  include  Cairo,  where  the 
mosque  el-Azhar,  devoted  in  988  to  educational  purposes, 
"has  been  ever  since  one  of  the  chief  universities  of  Islam."  ^ 
At  any  rate  it  is  clear  that  to  his  mind  the  intellectual  su- 
premacy has  now  passed  to  western  Europe. 
Popular  In  his  praises  of  learning  Neckam  is  a  little  too  inclined, 

^ndm*-  ^^^^  many  other  Latin  writers,  to  speak  slightingly  of  the 
chanical  vulgus  or  common  crowd.  In  antiquity,  he  affirms,  the  lib- 
eral arts  were  the  monopoly  of  free  men;  mechanical  or 
adulterine  arts  were  for  the  ignoble.^  This  does  not  mean, 
however,  that  his  eyes  are  closed  to  the  value  of  practical 
inventions,  since  both  in  The  Natures  of  Things  and  his  De 
utensilibus  we  find  what  are  perhaps  the  earliest  references 
to  the  mariner's  compass  *  and  to  glass  mirrors.'  Indeed, 
he  often  entertains  us  with  popular  gossip  and  superstition, 
mentioning  for  the  first  time  the  belief  in  a  man  in  the 
moon,^  and  telling  such  stories  of  daily  life  as  that  of  the 
lonely  sailor  whose  dog  helped  him  reef  the  sails  and  man- 
age the  ropes  of  the  boat  in  crossing  the  Channel,'^  or  of  the 
sea-fowl  whose  daily  cry  announced  to  the  sheep  in  the 
^  11,  174.  thority    for   his    further   observa- 

*  S.    Lane-Poole,    The  Story   of      tion,    "The    employment    of    glass 
Cairo.  London,  1902,  p.  124.  for    mirrors    was    known    to    the 

*II,  21.  ancients,  but  appears  to  have  been 

*II,    98.      Wright,    Volume    of      entirely  superseded  by  metal." 
Vocabularies,  p.  96.  *  L  14. 

'11,    154,  and   Wright,    Preface,  MI,  20. 

p.  1,   note.     Wright  cives   no  au- 





tidal  meadow  that  it  was  time  to  seek  higher  pasture,  until 
one  day  its  beak  was  caught  by  the  shell  of  an  oyster  it  tried 
to  devour  and  the  sheep  were  drowned  for  lack  of  warning.^ 

Neckam's  writings  were  numerous,  and,  as  might  have 
been  expected  from  his  wide  studies,  in  varied  fields.  They 
include  grammatical  treatises,-  works  on  Ovid  and  classical 
mythology,  commentaries  upon  the  books  of  the  Bible  such 
as  the  Psalms  and  Song  of  Songs,  and  the  writings  of  Aris- 
totle, and  other  works  of  a  literary,  scientific,  or  theological 
character.^  Most  of  them,  however,  if  extant,  are  still  in 
manuscript.  Only  a  few  have  been  printed;  *  among  them  is 
The  Natures  of  Things  which  we  shall  presently  consider. 

Neckam  is  a  good  illustration  of  the  humanistic  move- 
ment in  the  twelfth  century.  He  wrote  Latin  verse  ^  as  well 
as  prose;  took  pains  with  and  pride  in  his  Latin  style;  and 
shows  acquaintance  with  a  large  number  of  classical  authors. 
He  had  some  slight  knowledge,  at  least,  of  Hebrew.     He 


*  Such  as  his  "Corrogationes 
Promethei"  found  at  Oxford  in 
the  following  MSS :  Laud.  Misc. 
112,  13th  century,  fols.  9-42;  Mer- 
ton  College  254,  14th  century; 
Bodleian  (Bernard  4094)  and  550 
(Bernard  2300),  middle  of  13th 

•HL  Xyill  (1835),  521  was 
mistaken  in  saying  that  the  De 
naturis  rerutn  is  the  only  one  of 
Neckam's  works  found  in  conti- 
nental libraries,  for  see  Evreux 
72,  13th  century.  Alexandri 
Neckam  opuscula,  fol.  2.  "Cor- 
rectiones  Promethei,"  fol.  26v, 
"super  expositione  quarundem 
dictionum  singulorum  librorum 
Bibliothece  scilicit  de  significa- 
tione  eorum  et  accentu."  And 
there  is  a  copy  of  his  De  utensili- 
bus  in  BN  15171,  fol.  176. 

*  The  De  utensilibus  was  also 
edited  by  Thomas  Wright  in  1857 
in  A  Volume  of  Vocabularies. 
Professor  Haskins  has  printed  "A 
List  of  Text-books  from  the  Close 
of  the  Twelfth  Century"  in  Har- 
vard Studies  in  Classical  Phi- 
lology, XX    (1909),  90-94,  which 

he  argues  is  from  a  work  by 
Neckam  (Gonville  and  Caius  Col- 
lege MS  385,  pp.  7-61).  In  1520 
there  was  printed  under  the  name 
of  Albericus  a  work  which  is 
really  by  Neckam,  as  a  MS  at 
Oxford  bears  witness,  Digby  221, 
14th  century,  fol.  i.  "Mithologie 
Alexandri  Neckam  et  alio  nomine 
Sintillarium  appellatur" ;  Incipit, 
"Fuit  vir  in  Egipto  ditissimus 
nomine  Syrophanes."  In  the  same 
MS,  fols.  34V -85,  follows  another 
work,  "Alexander  Nequam  super 
Marcianum  de  nuptiis  Mercurii  et 
Philologie."  See  also  in  the 
Bodleian  (Bernard  2019,  It  3,  and 
2581,  Jt6)  Scintillarium  Poiseos 
in  quo  de  diis  gentium  et  nomini- 
bus  deorum  et  philosophorum  de 
eis  opiniones  ubi  et  de  origine 

°  See  M.  Esposito,  "On  Some 
Unpublished  Poems  Attributed  to 
Alexander  Neckam,"  in  English 
Historical  Reviczv,  XXX  (1915), 
450-71.  He  prints  several  poems 
on  wine,  etc.,  and  gives  a  bibli- 
ography of  Neckam's  works,  five 
printed  and  eleven  in  MSS. 




was  especially  addicted,  according  to  Wright/  to  those  in- 
genious but  philologically  absurd  derivations  of  words  in 
which  the  Etymologies  of  Isidore  of  Seville  had  dealt,  ex- 
plaining, for  example,  the  Latin  word  for  corpse  {cadaver) 
as  compounded  from  the  three  roots  seen  in  the  words  for 
flesh  {caro),  given  (data),  to  worms  (vermibus).  Yet  in 
one  chapter  of  The  Natures  of  Things  Neckam  attacks 
"the  verbal  cavils"  and  use  of  obsolete  words  in  his  time  as 
"useless  and  frivolous,"  and  asks  if  one  cannot  be  a  good 
jurist  or  physician  or  philosopher  without  all  this  linguistic 
and  verbal  display."  Wright,  moreover,  was  also  impressed 
by  Neckam's  interest  in  natural  science,  calling  him  "cer- 
tainly one  of  the  most  remarkable  English  men  of  science 
in  the  twelfth  century,"  ^  and  noting  that  "he  not  infre- 
quently displays  a  taste  for  experimental  science."  ^ 
De  The  Natures  of  Things,  however,  is  not  primarily  a 

iiaturis  scientific  or  philosophical  dissertation,  as  Alexander  is  care- 
ful  to  explain  in  the  preface,  but  a  vehicle  for  moral  instruc- 
tion. Natural  phenomena  are  described,  but  following  each 
comes  some  moral  application  or  spiritual  allegory  thereof. 
The  spots  on  the  moon,  for  instance,  are  explained  by  some 
as  due  to  mountains  and  to  depressions  which  the  sun's  light 
cannot  reach,  by  others  as  due  to  the  greater  natural  obscur- 
ity of  portions  of  the  moon.  Neckam  adds  that  they  are 
for  our  instruction,  showing  how  even  the  heavenly  bodies 
were  stained  by  the  sin  of  our  first  parents,  and  reminding 
us  that  during  this  present  life  there  will  always  be  some 
blot  upon  holy  church,  but  that  when  all  the  planets  and  stars 
shall  stand  as  it  were  justified,  our  state  too  will  become 
stable,  and  both  the  material  moon  and  holy  church  will  be 
spotless  before  the  Lamb.^  Neckam  intends  to  admire  God 
through  His  creatures  and  in  so  doing  humbly  to  kiss  as  it 
were  the  feet  of  the  Creator.  Despite  this  religious  tone 
and  the  moralizing,  Wright  regarded  the  work  "as  an  inter- 
esting monument  of  the  history  of  science  in  western  Eu- 

'P.  xiii.  *P.  xii. 

*II,  174.  "I,  14. 


rope  and  especially  in  England  during  the  latter  half  of  the 
twelfth  century,"  ^  and  as  such  we  shall  consider  it.  That 
it  was  written  before  1200  is  to  be  inferred  from  a  quotation 
from  it  by  a  chronicler  of  John's  reign. ^  It  seems  to  have 
been  the  best  known  of  Neckam's  works.  The  brevity  of 
The  Natures  of  Things,  which  consists  of  but  two  books, 
if  we  omit  the  other  three  of  its  five  books  which  consist  of 
commentaries  upon  Genesis  and  Ecclesiastes,  hardly  allows 
us  to  call  it  an  encyclopedia;  but  its  title  and  arrangement 
by  topics  and  chapters  closely  resemble  the  later  works  which 
are  usually  spoken  of  as  medieval  encyclopedias.  Later  in 
life  Neckam  wrote  a  poetical  paraphrase  of  it  with  consider- 
able changes,  which  is  entitled  De  laudibus  divinae  sapien- 

The  citations  of  authorities  in  the  De  naturis  rerum  are  Neckam's 
of  much  interest.  A  number  of  references  to  the  law  books  ^'^^^'o"*- 
of  Justinian  show  NecKam's  knowledge  of  the  Roman  law,^ 
and,  as  we  should  expect  after  hearing  of  his  commentary 
upon  Ovid's  Metamorphoses,  allusions  to  that  work,  the 
Fasti,  and  the  Ars  amandi  are  frequent.  Claudian  is  once 
quoted  for  two  solid  pages  and  considerable  use  is  made  of 
other  Latin  poets  such  as  Vergil,  Lucan,  Martial,  and  Juve- 
nal. Neckam  believed  that  the  diligent  investigator  could  find 
much  that  was  useful  in  the  inventions  of  the  poets  and  that 
beneath  their  fables  moral  instruction  sometimes  lay  hid.* 
Neckam  quotes  Plato,  perhaps  indirectly,  and  repeats  in 
different  words  the  fable  of  the  crow  and  fox,  as  given  in 

*  Pp.  xiv-xv.  to  note  a  third,  MS  Z72)7  in  the 

'Wright    (p.  Ixxvii)    used   four  Harleian  collection  of  the  British 

MSS   of    the    13th   or   very   early  Museum.     It  is  of  the    13th  cen- 

14th  century.     At  Corpus  Christi  tury    according    to    the    catalogue 

College,  Oxford,  there  is  a  beau-  and    contains    this    interesting  'm- 

tifully     written     twelfth     century  scription,    "Hie    est    liber    S.    Al- 

copy  which  he   did   not  use,   MS  bani  quam  qui  abstulerit  aut  titu- 

45,    folio,    186    fols.,    double    col-  lum       deleverit       anathema       sit. 

umns.     Comment,    in    Genesim   et  Amen."      (This    book    belongs   to 

Ecclesiasten,  sive  de  naturis  rerum  St.   Albans.     May   he   who   steals 

libri     quinque;      "Explicit     tract.  it  or  destroys  the  title  be  anath- 

mag.       Alex.       Neckham       super  ema.     Amen.) 
Ecclesiasten    de    naturis    rerum."  *I,  75,  II,   155,   173. 

Although  Wright  used  two  MSS  *II,  11;  II,  107;  II  12;  II,  126. 

from  the  Royal   Library,  he   fails 


Apuleius.^  The  church  fathers  are  of  course  utilized — 
Augustine,  Jerome,  Gregory,  Basil,  and  a  more  recent  theo- 
logian like  Anselm,  archbishop  of  Canterbury;  and  familiar- 
ity is  shown  with  the  early  medieval  standard  authorities, 
such  as  Boethius,  Cassiodorus,  Bede,  and  Isidore.  Of  writ- 
ers who  may  be  regarded  as  dealing  more  particularly  with 
natural  science  there  are  mentioned  Pliny  and  Solinus  on 
animals — but  he  seems  to  use  Pliny  very  little  and  Solinus  a 
great  deal,  Macer  and  Dioscorides  on  the  properties  and  ef- 
fects of  herbs,^  while  works  in  the  domain  of  astronomy  or 
astrology  are  attributed  to  Julius  (perhaps  really  Firmicus) 
and  Augustus  Caesar  as  well  as  to  Ptolemy.^ 
His  But  what  is  most  impressive  is  the  frequent  citation 

ofTr'is^^^    from  Euclid  and  Aristotle,  especially  the  latter.     Not  only 
totle.  the   logical   treatises   are   cited,    but   also   the   History   of 

Animals  *  and  the  Liber  Coeli  et  Mundi,  while  allusion 
is  also  made  to  Aristotle's  opinions  concerning  vision,  mo- 
tion, melancholy,  waters,  and  various  astronomical  matters.^ 
Such  passages — as  well  as  the  fact  that  commentaries  on 
Aristotle  are  ascribed  to  Neckam — suggest  that  Roger  Ba- 
con was  mistaken  in  the  much-quoted  passage  in  which  he 
states  that  the  works  of  Aristotle  on  natural  philosophy 
were  first  introduced  to  the  medieval  (Latin)  learned  world 

*  In  H.  E.  Butler's  translation,  use  the  Greek  word  "narcos." 
Oxford,  1909,  given  as  Florida,  Moreover,  Neckam  seems  to  give 
cap.  26;  in  the  MSS  and  in  Hilde-  credit  as  a  rule  to  his  immediate 
brand's  text,  pars  II,  Lipsiae,  sources  and  not  to  copy  their  cita- 
1842,  included  in  the  prologus  to  tions ;  as  we  have  seen,  he  credited 
the  De  Deo  Socratis,  with  which  the  fable  of  the  fox  and  crow  to 
we  may  therefore  infer  that  Apuleius  and  not  to  Aesop  to 
Neckam  was  acquainted.     Indeed  whom  Apuleius  credits  it. 

there  is  a  twelfth  century  manu-  "11,   153.     Sed  Aristoteli  magis 

script  of  the  De  Deo  Socratis  in  credendum  esse  reor  quam  vulgo. 

the      British      Museum — Harleian  I,     39.      Dicit    tamen    Aristoteles 

3969.  quod  nihil  habet  duos  motus  con- 

*II,  166.  trarios.     I,      7.      Aristoteles     qui 

*II,  12.  dicit,     "Solos     melancholicos     in- 

*  II,  44.  Narcos  piscis  est  tan-  geniosos  esse."  II,  i.  Secundum 
tae  virtutis,  ut  dicit  Aristoteles.  veritatem  doctrinae  Aristotelicae 
...  II,  159.  Ut  docet  Aristoteles,  omnes  aquae  sunt  indiflferentes  se- 
omnia  mula  sterilis  est.  While  cundum  speciem.  I,  9.  Placuit 
the  substance  of  these  two  pas-  itaque  acutissimo  Aristoteli  plane- 
sages  is  found  in  Pliny's  Natural  tas  tantum  cum  firmamento  mo- 
History,  he  does  not  mention  veri.  Sed  quid?  Aristoteli  audent 
Aristotle  in  these  connections  nor  sese   opponere?  .  •  .  etc. 


in  Latin  translations  by  Michael  Scot  about  1230.  Neckam 
perhaps  cites  the  History  of  Animals  indirectly :  at  any  rate 
he  makes  little  use  of  it;  but  his  numerous  mentions  of  Aris- 
totle's views  on  nature  make  it  evident  that  "the  truth 
of  Aristotelian"  doctrine  is  already  known  in  the  twelfth 
century.  And  he  already  regards  "the  most  acute  Aristotle" 
as  the  pre-eminent  authority  among  all  philosophers.  After 
stating  that  "all  philosophers  generally  seem  to  teach"  that 
the  planets  move  in  a  contrary  direction  to  the  firmament 
like  flies  w^alking  on  a  rushing  wheel,  Neckam  adds  a  num- 
ber of  objections  to  this  view,  and  adds,  "It  therefore  was 
the  opinion  of  Aristotle,  the  most  acute,  that  the  planets 
moved  only  with  the  firmament."  He  then  expresses  his 
amazement  that  the  other  philosophers  should  have  dared  to 
oppose  Aristotle,  should  have  presumed  to  set  their  opinions 
against  so  great  a  philosopher.  It  is  as  if  a  peacock  spread 
its  spotted  tail  in  rivalry  with  the  starry  sky,  or  as  if  owls 
and  bats  should  vie  with  the  eagle's  unblinking  eye  in  staring 
at  the  mid-day  sun.^ 

That  Neckam  had  some  acquaintance  with  Arabic  and   Use  of 
Jewish  writers  is  indicated  by  his  citing  Alfraganus  and   authors 
Isaac.     Of  Christian  writers  of  the  century  before  him  Neck- 
am quotes  from  Hildebert,  and  four  times  from  Bernard 

*  It  would   therefore  seem  that  tabilibus  and   of   an   appendix   to 

Professor  Haskins  (EHR,  30,  68)  the    Meteorologica    consisting    of 

is  scarcely  justified  in  saying  that  three  chapters  De  congelatis,  also 

"the  natural  philosophy  and  meta-  translated       from      the      Arabic, 

physics  of  Aristotle"  are  "cited  in  Alfred  was  no  isolated  figure  in 

part  but  not  utilized  by  Alexander  English    learning,    since    he    dedi- 

Neckam,"      especially      since      he  cated     the     De     vegetabilibus    to 

states     presently     that     "Neckam  Roger   of    Hereford   and   the   De 

himself    seems   to    have   been   ac-  motu     cordis     to     Neckam:     ed. 

quainted    with    the    Metaphysics,  Baruch,  Innsbruck,   1878;  and  see 

De  Anima,  and  De  gcneratione  et  Baeumker,  Die  Stellung  des  Alfred 

corruptione"    (Ibid.,    69,    and    "A  von  Sareshel  .  .  .  in  der  Wissen- 

List      of      Textbooks,"     Harvard  schaft      des      beginnenden      XIII 

Studies,  XX  (igo9),  7S-94).    Pro-  Jahrts.,  Miinchen,  Sitzber.  (1913), 

fessor  Haskins,  however,  believes  No.  9.     On  the  whole  it  is  prob- 

that  the  new  Aristotle  was  by  this  ably     safe    to     assume    that    his 

time     penetrating     England,     but  knowledge  of  Aristotle  was  soon 

gives  the  main  credit  for  this  to  at    least,    if    not    from    the    start, 

Alfredus    Anglicus   or   Alfred   of  shared     with     others.     Grabmann 

Sareshel,    the    author   of    the   De  (1916),    pp.    22-2S,    adds    nothing 

motu  cordis,  and  the  translator  of  new  on  the  subject  of   Neckam's 

the  Pseudo-Aristotelian  De  vege-  knowledge  of  Aristotle. 



opinion  of 






Silvester.  He  cites  the  Pantegni  or  Tegni  of  Constantinus 
Africanus  more  than  once.^  He  does  not  mention  Adelard 
of  Bath  by  name  but  in  discussing  experiments  with  vacuums 
repeats  the  experiment  of  the  water  jar.  In  another  chap- 
ter he  states  that,  if  the  earth  were  perforated,  an  enormous 
weight  of  lead  would  fall  only  to  the  center.  Neckam's  chap- 
ter on  "Why  in  the  same  earth  plants  grow  of  contrary  ef- 
fects" is  similar  to  the  third  chapter  of  the  Natural  Ques- 
tions of  Adelard,  and  his  chapter  on  "Why  certain  animals 
ruminate"  is  like  Adelard's  seventh  in  the  same  work.^ 

Roger  Bacon,  whose  estimates  of  his  contemporaries 
have  sometimes  been  accepted  at  too  high  a  value,  wrote  of 
Neckam  some  fifty  years  after  Alexander's  death:  "This 
Alexander  wrote  true  and  useful  books  on  many  subjects, 
but  he  cannot  with  justice  be  named  as  an  authority."  ' 
Bacon  himself,  however,  seems  on  at  least  one  occasion  to 
have  used  Neckam  as  an  authority  without  naming  him.'* 
On  the  other  hand,  another  Englishman  of  note  in  science, 
Alfred  of  Sarchel  or  Sareshel,  dedicated  his  book  on  The 
Movement  of  the  Heart  {De  niotu  cordis)  to  Neckam. 

Whatever  Neckam's  own  scientific  attainments  may 
have  been,  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  he  had  a  high  regard 
for  scientia  and  that  he  was  not  wanting  in  sympathetic  ap- 
preciation of  the  scientific  spirit.  This  fact  shines  out  in  the 
pages  of  the  De  naturis  reruni  amid  its  moral  lessons  and 
spiritual  illustrations,  its  erroneous  etymologies  and  popu- 
lar anecdotes.  "Science  is  acquired,"  he  says  in  one  pas- 
sage, "at  great  expense,  by  frequent  vigils,  by  great  expen- 
diture of  time,  by  sedulous  diligence  of  labor,  by  vehement 
application  of  mind."  ^  But  its  acquisition  abundantly  jus- 
tifies itself  even  in  practical  life  and  destructive  war.  "What 
craftiness  of  the  foe  is  there  that  does  not  yield  to  the  pre- 
cise knowledge  of  those  who  have  tracked  down  the  elusive 

II,    129,  *As   I    shall   point  out   when   I 

come  to   Roger   Bacon,  there  are 

*I,  39;    II,    11;    I,   49; 
140,  157;  II,  157  and  161. 

M,  19;  I,  16;  II,  57;  11.  162. 

*  Fr.  Rogeri  Bacon,  Opera  Ine- 
dita,  ed.  Brewer,  p.  457  in  RS, 
vol.  15. 

one  or  two  rather  striking  resem- 
blances between  his  interests  and 
method  and  those  of  Neckam. 
'11,  155. 


subtleties  of  things  hidden  in  the  very  bosom  of  nature?"  ^ 
He  often  cites  these  experts  in  natural  science,  whom  he  al- 
ways seems  to  regard  with  respect  as  authorities.^  Not  that 
he  believes  that  they  have  solved  all  problems.  Some  things 
forsooth  are  so  hidden  that  it  seems  as  if  Nature  is  saying, 
"This  is  my  secret,  this  is  my  secret !"  ^  On  the  other  hand, 
there  are  many  natural  phenomena  too  familiar  through 
daily  use  and  experience  to  need  mention  in  books,  since  even 
those  who  do  not  read  are  acquainted  with  them.  Neckam 
consequently  will  follow  a  middle  course  in  selecting  the 
contents  of  his  volume. 

Although  a  Christian  clergyman,  Neckam  seems  to  ex-  Science 
perience  little  difficulty  in  adopting  the  scientific  theories  g"^j^^  ^ 
of  Aristotle;  or,  if  there  are  Aristotelian  doctrines  known 
to  him  with  which  he  disagrees,  he  usually  quietly  disre- 
gards them.^  But  he  does  raise  the  question  several  times 
of  the  correctness  of  Biblical  statements  concerning  nature. 
He  explains  that  Adam's  body  was  composed  of  all  four 
elements  and  not  made  merely  from  earth,  as  the  account 
of  creation  in  the  Book  of  Genesis  might  seem  to  imply.^ 
And  of  the  scriptural  assertion  that  "God  made  two  great 
lights"  he  says,  "The  historical  narrative  follows  the  judg- 
ment of  the  eye  and  the  popular  notion,"  but  of  course  the 
moon  is  not  one  of  the  largest  planets.®  In  a  third  chapter 
entitled,  "That  water  is  not  lower  than  earth,"  he  notes  that 
the  statement  of  the  prophet  that  "God  founded  the  earth 
upon  the  waters"  does  not  agree  with  Alfraganus'  dictum 
that  there  is  one  sphere  of  earth  and  waters.'^  Wright  quite 
unreasonably  interprets  this  chapter  as  showing  "to  what  a 
degree  science  had  become  the  slave  of  scriptural  phrase- 
ology." ^  What  it  really  shows  is  just  the  contrary,  for  even 
the  Biblical  expositors,  Neckam  tells  us,  say  that  the  passage 

^11,  174-  '11,  152. 

*For    instance,  II,    148.      "Qui  *!,  13.     "Sed  visus  iudicium  et 

autem  in  naturis  rerum  instruct!  vulgarem  opinionem  sequitur  his- 
sunt."  torialis  narratio." 

•  II,  99.  '  n,  49. 

*  I,  16,  a  citation  from  Aristotle  *  Preface,  p.  xxx. 
gives  him  a  little  trouble. 

198  M.'ICIC  AND  liXPfiRIMENTAL  SCIENCE       chap. 

is  to  be  taken  in  the  sense  tiiat  one  speaks  of  Paris  as  located 
on  the  Seine.  Neckam  then  makes  a  suggestion  of  his  own, 
that  what  is  really  above  the  waters  is  the  terrestrial  para- 
dise, since  it  is  even  beyond  the  sphere  of  the  moon,  and 
Enoch,  translated  thither,  suffered  no  inconvenience  what- 
ever from  the  waters  of  the  deluge.  Moreover,  the  terres- 
trial paradise  symbolizes  the  church  which  is  founded  on 
the  waters  of  baptism.  All  of  which  is  of  course  far-fetched 
and  fanciful,  but  in  no  way  can  be  said  to  make  science 
"the  slave  of  scriptural  phraseology."  On  the  contrary  it 
makes  scriptural  phraseology  the  slave  of  mysticism,  while 
it  subjects  Enoch's  translation  to  somewhat  material  limita- 
tions. Possibly  there  may  be  used  here  some  of  the  apocry- 
phal books  current  under  Enoch's  name.^  On  one  occasion 
Neckam  does  accept  a  statement  of  the  Bible  which  seems  in- 
consistent with  the  views  of  philosophers  concerning  the  four 
elements.  This  is  the  assertion  that  after  the  day  of  judg- 
ment there  will  be  neither  fire  nor  water  but  only  air  and 
earth  will  be  left.  To  an  imaginary  philosopher  who  seems 
unwilling  to  accept  this  assertion  Neckam  says,  "If  you  don't 
believe  me,  at  least  believe  Peter,  the  chief  of  the  apostles, 
who  says  the  same  in  his  canonical  epistle.  Says  what? 
Says  that  fire  and  water  will  not  exist  after  the  judgment 
day."  ^  But  if  Neckam  prefers  to  believe  his  Bible  as  to 
what  will  occur  in  the  world  of  nature  after  the  day  of 
judgment,  he  prefers  also,  as  we  have  seen,  to  follow  natural 
science  in  regard  to  present  natural  phenomena.  Moreover, 
in  neither  the  canonical  nor  apocr}'phal  books  can  I  find  any 
such  statement  in  the  Epistles  of  Peter  as  Neckam  here 
credits  him  with,  unless  after  the  elements  have  melted  with 
fervent  heat,  the  new  heavens  and  a  new  earth  are  to  be 
interpreted  as  made  respectively  of  air  and  earth ! 
His  own  We  may  agree  at  least  with  Wright  that  Neckam's  scien- 

of  science^    tific  attainments  are  considerable  for  his  time.     In  physics 
and  astronomy  he  shows  himself  fairly  well  versed.     He 

*Sce  I  Htrmas.  iii,  42.     "Hear      life    is    and    shall    be    saved    by 
therefore  why  the  tower  is  built       water.  .  .  ." 
upon    the    water :    because    your         '  I,  16. 


knows  something  of  vacuums  and  syphoning ;  he  argues  that 
water  tends  naturally  to  take  a  spherical  shape ;  ^  he  twice 
points  out  that  the  walls  of  buildings  should  not  be  ex- 
actly parallel,  since  they  should  ultimately  meet,  if  pro- 
longed far  enough,  at  the  center  of  the  earth ;  ^  and  he  as- 
serts that  the  so-called  "antipodes"  are  no  more  under  our 
feet  than  we  are  under  theirs.^  He  gives  us  what  is  per- 
haps our  earliest  information  of  some  medieval  inventions, 
such  as  the  mariner's  compass  and  mirrors  of  glass."*  But 
he  does  not  attempt  to  explain  differences  in  the  images  in 
convex  and"  concave  mirrors.^  He  is  modest  in  regard  to 
his  biological  attainments,  saying  that  he  "is  not  ashamed 
to.  confess"  that  there  are  species  of  which  he  does  not  even 
know  the  names,  to  say  nothing  of  their  natures.^  But  when 
Wright  calls  Neckam's  account  of  animals  "a  mere  compila- 
tion" and  says  that  "much  of  it  is  taken  from  the  old  writers, 
such  as  Solinus,  Isidore,  and  Cassiodorus,"  '''  he  is  basing 
his  conclusion  simply  on  the  fact  that  marginal  notes  in  the 
medieval  manuscripts  themselves  ascribe  a  number  of  pas- 
sages to  these  authors.  This  ascription  is  correct.  But  there 
are  many  passages  on  animals  where  the  manuscripts  name 
no  authorities,  and  with  one  exception — the  chapter  on  the 
hyena  from  Solinus — Wright  fails  to  name  any  source  from 
which  Neckam  has  borrowed  these  other  passages.  It  is 
easy  to  show  that  Neckam  is  a  compiler  when  he  himself 
or  others  have  stated  his  authorities  but  it  is  equally  fair  to 
suppose  that  he  is  honest  and  original  when  he  cites  no 
authorities  or  has  not  been  detected  in  borrowing.  And  he 
sometimes  criticizes  or  discriminates  between  the  earlier 
writers.  After  quoting  Bernard  Silvester's  statement  that 
the  beaver  castrates  itself  to  escape  its  hunters,  he  adds,  "But 

*  II,  14.  Vitruvius,  VIII,  v.  S,  ventions  no  instances  are  given 
ascribes  this  doctrine  to  Archi-  of  allusions  to  glass  mirrors 
medes.  earlier    than    the    middle    of    the 

'II,  172;  and  p.  109  of  De  uten-  thirteenth  century. 
silibus.  "11,   154. 

'11,49.  '11,99. 

*  Wright  points  out   (p.  1,  note)  '  P.  xxxix. 
that  in  Beckman's  History  of  In- 



stories  of 

those  who  are  more  reliably  informed  as  to  the  natures  of 
things  assert  that  Bernard  has  followed  the  ridiculous  pop- 
ular notion  and  not  reached  the  true  fact."  ^  Neckam  also 
questions  the  belief  that  a  lynx  has  such  keen  sight  that  it 
can  see  through  nine  walls.  This  is  supposed  to  have  been 
demonstrated  experimentally  by  observing  a  lynx  with  nine 
walls  between  it  and  a  person  carrying  some  raw  meat.  The 
lynx  will  move  along  its  side  of  the  walls  whenever  the  meat 
is  moved  on  the  other  side  and  will  stop  opposite  the  spot 
where  the  person  carrying  the  meat  stops.  Neckam  does  not 
question  the  accuracy  of  this  absurd  experiment,  but  re- 
marks that  some  natural  scientists  attribute  it  rather  to  the 
animal's  sense  of  smell  than  to  its  power  of  vision.^ 

But  as  a  rule  Neckam's  treatment  of  animals  is  far 
more  credulous  than  sceptical.  He  believes  that  the  bar- 
nacle bird  is  generated  from  fir-wood  which  has  been  soaked 
in  the  salt  water  for  a  long  time,^  and  that  the  wren,  after 
it  has  been  killed  and  is  being  roasted,  turns  itself  on  the 
spit.^  He  tells  a  number  of  delightful  but  incredible  stories 
in  which  animals  display  remarkable  sagacity  and  manifest 
emotions  and  motives  similar  to  those  of  human  beings. 
Some  of  these  tales  concern  particular  pets  or  wild  beasts; 
others  are  of  the  habits  of  a  species.  The  hawk,  for  ex- 
ample, keeps  warm  on  wintry  nights  by  seizing  some  other 
bird  in  its  claws  and  holding  it  tight  against  its  own  body; 
but  when  day  returns  it  gratefully  releases  this  bird  and  sat- 
isfies its  morning  appetite  upon  some  other  victim.^  Neckam 
also  shares  the  common  belief  that  animals  were  ac- 
quainted with  the  medicinal  virtues  of  herbs.  When  the 
weasel  is  wounded  by  a  venomous  animal,  it  hastens  to  seek 
salubrious  plants.  For  "educated  by  nature,  it  knows  the 
virtues  of  herbs,  although  it  has  neither  studied  medicine  at 
Salerno  nor  been  drilled  in  the  schools  at  Montpellier."  * 

»II,  140. 
MI,  138. 

•  I,  48. 

*  I,  78. 
•I,  25. 
•II,  123. 

This  reminds  one  of 

the  account  of  the  tunny  fish  by 
Plutarch  which  we  noted  in  our 
chapter  on  Plutarch,  where  he 
says  that  the  tunny  fish  needs  no 
astrological  canons  and  is  familiar 
with    arithmetic ;    "Yes,    by    Zeus, 




Neckam's  chapter  on  the  barnyard  cock  perhaps  will  illus- 
trate the  divergences  between  medieval  and  modern  science 
as  well  as  any  other.  As  a  rooster  approaches  old  age,  he 
sometimes  lays  an  egg  upon  which  a  toad  sits,  and  from 
which  is  hatched  the  basilisk.  How  is  it  that  the  cock  "dis- 
tinguishes the  hours  by  his  song"  ?  From  great  heat  ebul- 
lition of  the  humors  within  the  said  bird  arises,  it  produces 
saltiness,  the  saltiness  causes  itching,  from  the  itching  comes 
tickling,  from  the  tickling  comes  delectation,  and  delectation 
excites  one  to  song.  Now  nature  sets  certain  periods  to  the 
movements  of  humors  and  therefore  the  cock  crows  at 
certam  hours.  But  why  have  roosters  crests  and  hens  not? 
This  is  because  of  their  very  moist  brains  and  the  presence 
near  the  top  of  their  heads  of  some  bones  which  are  not 
firmly  joined.  So  the  gross  humor  arising  from  the  hu- 
midity escapes  through  the  openings  and  produces  the  crest.^ 

Neckam  harbored  the  notion,  which  we  met  long  before 
in  the  pagan  Philostratus,  in  the  Hebraic  Enoch  litera- 
ture, in  the  Christian  Pseudo-Clementines  and  Basil's  Hex- 
aemeron,  and  more  recently  in  the  writings  of  Hildegard, 
that  man's  sin  has  its  physical  effects  upon  nature.  To 
Adam's  fall  he  attributes  not  only  the  spots  on  the  moon 
but  the  wildness  of  most  animals,  and  the  existence  of  in- 
sects to  plague,  and  venomous  animals  to  poison,  and  diseases 
to  injure  mankind,^  But  for  the  fall  of  man,  moreover, 
all  living  creatures  would  be  subsisting  upon  a  vege- 
tarian diet. 

Magic  is  hardly  mentioned  in  the  De  naturis  rerum.  In 
a  passage,  however,  telling  how  Aristotle  ordered  some  of 
his  subtlest  works  to  be  buried  with  him,  Neckam  adds  that 
he  so  guarded  the  neighborhood  of  his  sepulcher  "by  some 
mysterious  force  of  nature  or  power  of  art,  not  to  say  feat 
of  the  magic  art,  that  no  one  in  those  days  could  enter  it."  ^ 

A  chapter 
on  the 

Effect  of 
sin  upon 

on  occult 

and  with  optics,  too."  It  is  un- 
likely that  Neckam  was  acquainted 
with  Plutarch's  Essays. 

*  I,  75 ;   the   reasoning  is   some- 
what similar  to  Adelard  of  Bath's 

explanation  why  his  nephew  wept 
for  joy. 

'II,  156. 

'II,  189. 




belief  in 

But  Neckam  is  a  believer  in  occult  virtues  and  to  a  certain 
extent  in  astrology.  He  would  also  seem  to  believe  in  the 
force  of  incantations  from  his  assertion  that  "in  words  and 
herbs  and  stones  diligent  investigators  of  nature  have  dis- 
covered great  virtue.  Most  certain  experience,  moreover, 
makes  our  statement  trustworthy."  ^  He  mentions  a  much 
smaller  number  of  stones  than  Marbod,  but  ascribes  the 
same  occult  virtues  to  those  which  he  does  name.  In  the 
preface  to  his  first  book  he  says  that  some  gems  have  greater 
virtue  when  set  in  silver  than  when  set  in  gold.  A  tooth 
separated  from  the  jaw  of  a  wild  boar  remains  sharp  only 
as  long  as  the  animal  remains  alive,  an  interesting  bit  of 
sympathetic  magic.^  The  occult  property  of  taming  wild 
bulls  possessed  by  the  fig-tree  which  we  have  already  seen 
noted  by  various  authors  is  also  remarked  by  Neckam.^ 
A  moonbeam  shining  through  a  narrow  aperture  in  the  wall 
of  a  stable  fell  directly  on  a  sore  on  a  horse's  back  and  caused 
the  death  of  a  groom  standing  nearby.  Out-of-doors  the 
efiFect  would  not  have  been  fatal,  since  the  force  of  the 
moon's  rays  would  not  have  been  so  concentrated  upon  one 
spot  and  the  humidity  would  have  had  a  better  chance  to 
diffuse  through  space. ^ 

After  telling  of  the  fatal  glances  of  the  basilisk  and  wolf, 
Neckam  says  that  fascination  is  explained  as  due  to  evil  rays 
from  someone  who  looks  at  you.  He  adds  that  nurses  lick 
the  face  of  a  child  who  has  been  fascinated."'^ 

Neckam  will  not  believe  that  the  seven  planets  are  ani- 
mals.® He  does  believe,  however,  that  they  not  merely  adorn 
the  heavens  but  exert  upon  inferiors  those  effects  which  God 
has  assigned  to  them.'^  Each  planet  rules  in  turn  three  hours 
of  the  day.  As  there  are  twenty-four  hours  in  all,  the  last 
three  hours  of  each  day  are  governed  by  the  same  planet 
which  ruled  the  first  three.     Hence  the  names  of  the  days 

'  11.  85. 
MI,  139. 
MI,  80. 

*II,  153;  this  item  is  also  found 
1     the     De     Natura    rerum     of 

Thomas  of  Cantimprc. 
"II.   153- 
M,  7. 


in  the  planetary  week,  Sunday  being  the  day  when  the  sun 
governs  the  first  three  and  last  three  hours,  Monday  the  day 
when  the  moon  controls  the  opening  and  closing  hours  of 
day,  and  so  on.^  But  the  stars  do  not  impose  necessity  upon 
the  human  will  which  remains  free.  Nevertheless  the  planet 
Mars,  for  instance,  bestows  the  gift  of  counsel;  and  science 
is  associated  with  the  planet  Venus  which  is  hot  and  moist, 
as  are  persons  of  sanguine  temperament  in  whom  science  is 
wont  to  flourish.  Neckam  also  associates  each  of  the  seven 
planets  which  illuminate  the  universe  with  one  of  the  seven 
liberal  arts  which  shed  light  on  all  knowledge.^  He  alludes 
to  the  great  year  of  which  the  philosophers  tell,  when  after 
36,000  years  the  stars  complete  their  courses,^  and  to  the 
music  of  the  spheres  when,  to  secure  the  perfect  consonance 
of  an  octave,  the  eighth  sphere  of  the  fixed  stars  completes 
the  harmony  of  the  seven  planets.  But  he  fears  that  some- 
one may  think  he  is  raving  when  he  speaks  with  the  philoso- 
phers of  this  harmony  of  the  eight  spheres.* 

At  Jesus  College,  Oxford,  in  a  manuscript  of  the  early  Neckam's 
thirteenth  century,  which  is  exclusively  devoted  to  religious  ^  ^ 
writings  by  Neckam,^  there  occurs  at  the  close  an  address 
of  the  author  to  his  work,  which  is  in  the  same  hand  as  the 
rest  of  the  manuscript,  which  we  may  therefore  not  unrea- 
sonably suppose  to  have  been  Neckam's  own  writing.  As 
he  is  spoken  of  in  the  manuscript  as  abbot  of  Cirencester, 
perhaps  these  are  also  actually  the  last  words  he  wrote.  We 
may  therefore  appropriately  terminate  our  account  of 
Neckam  by  quoting  them. 

"Perchance,  O  book,  you  will  survive  Alexander,  and 
worms  will  eat  me  before  the  book-worm  gnaws  you;  for  my 
body  is  due  the  worms  and  book-worms  will  demolish  you. 
You  are  the  mirror  of  my  soul,  the  interpreter  of  my  medi- 
tations, the  surest  index  of  my  meaning,  the  faithful  mes- 

*  I,  10.     See  p.  670  for  Bacon's       gloss   on   the   psalter,  a  commen- 
different  account  of  this  point.  tary  on  the  proverbs  of  Solomon, 

*  II,  173.  two  sermons,  and,  three  books  on 
*I,  6.  "Who  can  find  a  virtuous  woman?" 
*I,   15-                             .  by  Bede. 

'  Jesus  94.     The  MS  includes  a 

204    MAGIC  AND  EXPERIMENTAL  SCIENCE     chap,  xliii 

senger  of  my  mind's  emotions,  the  sweet  comforter  of  my 
grief,  the  true  witness  of  my  conscience.  To  you  as  faithful 
depositary  I  have  confided  my  heart's  secrets;  you  restore 
faithfully  to  me  those  things  which  I  have  committed  to 
your  trust ;  in  you  I  read  myself.  You  will  come,  you  will 
come  into  the  hands  of  some  pious  reader  who  will  deign 
to  pour  forth  prayers  for  me.  Then  indeed,  little  book,  you 
will  profit  your  master;  then  you  will  recompense  your 
Alexander  by  a  most  grateful  interchange.  There  will  come, 
nor  do  I  begrudge  my  labor,  the  devotion  of  a  pious  reader, 
who  will  now  let  you  repose  in  his  lap,  now  move  you  to  his 
breast,  sometimes  place  you  as  a  sweet  pillow  beneath  his 
head,  sometimes  gently  closing  you  with  glad  hands,  he  will 
fervently  pray  for  me  to  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  who  with  Fa- 
ther and  Holy  Spirit  lives  and  reigns  God  through  infinite 
cycles  of  ages.    Amen." 


MOSES    MAIM.ONIDES    (mUSA    IBN    MAIMUN)     II35-I204 

His  life — His  works  in  the  west — His  works  nn  Latin — Attitude  to 
science  and  religion — Attitude  to  magic — Towards  empiricism — Abuse 
of  divine  names — Occult  virtue  and  empirical  remedies  in  his  work  on 
poisons — Attitude  to  astrology — Divination  and  prophecy — Marvels  in 
the  Aphorisms. 

In  this  chapter  we  turn  to  consider  perhaps  the  leading  His  life, 
representative  of  Hebrew  learning  in  the  middle  ages,  Moses 
Maimonides  ^  or  Musa  ibn  Maimum  or  Moses  ben  Maimon, 
as  he  is  variously  briefly  styled,  not  to  entangle  ourselves  in 
the  intricacies  of  his  full  Arabic  name.  In  the  Latin  ver- 
sions of  his  works  he  is  spoken  of  as  Rabbi  Moyses  of 
Cordova  ^  or  is  made  to  call  himself  an  Israelite  of  Cordova,^ 

^  In  English,  besides  the  article 
on  Maimonides  in  the  Jewish  En- 
cyclopedia, there  is  a  rather  good 
essay  by  Rabbi  Gottheil  in  War- 
ner's Library  of  the  World's  Best 
Literature.  Recent  works  in 
French  and  German  are :  L.  G. 
Levy,  Maintonide,  191 1;  Moses 
ben  Maimon,  sein  Leben,  seine 
Werke,  und  sein  EinAuss,  zur 
Erinnerung  an  den  siebenhundert- 
sten  Todestag  des  Maimonides, 
herausg.  v.  d.  Gesell.  s.  Forderung 
d.  Wiss.  d.  Judenthums  durch  W. 
Bacher,  M.  Brann,  D.  Simonsen, 
I.  Guttmann,  2  vols.,  containing 
twenty  essays  by  various  contribu- 
tors, Leipzig,  1908  and  1914.  L. 
Finkelscherer,  Mose  Maimunis 
Stellung  zum  Aberglauben  und 
zur  Mystik,  Breslau,  1894;  a 
Jena  doctoral  dissertation,  full  of 
somewhat  juvenile  generalizations, 
and  which  fails  to  appraise 
Maimonides'  attitude  towards 
magic,  astrology,  and  superstition 
comparatively.  See  also  D.  Joel, 
Der  Aberglaube  und  die  Stellung 

des  Judenthums  zu  demselben, 
1881-1883.  Other  older  works  on 
Maimonides  are  listed  in  the  bib- 
liography in  the  Jewish  Encyclo- 
pedia. The  Guide  of  the  Per- 
plexed (Moreh  Nebukim)  was 
translated  by  M.  Friedlander, 
second  edition,  1904,  and  I  have 
also  used  the  Latin  translation  of 
1629.  The  Yad-Hachazakah  was 
published  in  1863 ;  The  Book  of 
Precepts,  in  1849;  the  Co^nmen- 
tary  on  the  Mishnah,  in  1655. 
Other  works  will  be  listed  in  the 
four  following  foot-notes. 

'  "Rabymoyses  Cordubensis," 
fols.  ir  and  13V  of  the  Latin 
translation  of  his  work  on  Poi- 
sons by  Ermengard  Blasius  of 
Montpellier  in  an  Oxford  MS, 
Corpus  Christi  College  125. 

*  "Moysi  israhelitici,"  on  the 
first  page  of  a  Latin  translation 
printed  in  1477  (?) — numbered 
IA.27063  in  the  British  Museum — 
from  his  "Yad  Hachazakah," 
under  the  title,  "De  regimine  sani- 
tatis   omnium   hominum    sub   bre- 




His  works 
in  the 

but  it  seems  to  have  been  not  much  more  than  the  scene  of 
his  birth  and  childhood,  since  the  invasion  of  the  fanatical 
Almohades  in  1148  forced  his  father  to  flee  with  his  family 
first  from  place  to  place  in  Spain,  in  1160  to  Fez,  later  to 
Syria  and  Egypt.  From  about  1165  on  Maimonides  seems 
to  have  lived  most  of  the  time  at  Cairo  and  there  to  have 
done  most  of  his  work.  After  the  deaths  of  his  father  and 
brother  forced  him  to  earn  a  livelihood  by  practicing  medi- 
cine, he  became  physician  to  the  vizier  of  Saladin  and  head 
of  the  Jewish  community  in  Cairo. 

Whether  or  not  he  returned  to  Spain  before  his  death  in 
1204,  he  was  certainly  known  to  the  western  world  of 
learning.  In  1194  he  wrote  a  letter  on  the  subject  of  as- 
trology in  response  to  inquiries  which  he  had  received  from 
Jews  of  Marseilles.^  In  it  he  tells  them  that  his  Repetition 
of  the  Law  (Iteratio  legis)  has  already  spread  through  the 
island  of  Sicily.  But  he  apparently  was  still  in  Cairo,  where 
in  July,  1 1 98,  he  wrote  his  treatise  on  Poisons  for  the  Cadi 
Fadhil.^  After  his  death,  however,  it  was  between  the  con- 
servative and  liberal  parties  among  the  Jews  of  France  and 
Spain  that  a  struggle  ensued  over  the  orthodoxy  of  his 
works,  which  was  finally  settled,  we  are  told,  by  reference 
in  1234  to  the  Christian  authorities,  who  ordered  his  books 
to  be  burned.  His  Guide  for  the  Perplexed,  first  published 
in  Egypt  in  Arabic  in  1190,  had  been  translated  into  Hebrew 
at  Lunel  in  southern  France  before  the  close  of  the  twelfth 
century,  and  then  again  by  a  Spanish  poet.^  But  the  rabbis 
of  northern  France  opposed  the  introduction  of  Maimonides' 
works  there  and,  when  they  were  anathematized  for  it  by 
those  of  the  south,  are  said  to  have  reported  the  writings 

viloquio  compilatus."  In  the 
Latin  version  of  the  Aphorisms 
printed  in  1489  (numbered 
I  A. 28878  in  the  British  Museum), 
"ait  Moj^ses  filius  servuH  dei 
israeliticus  cordubensis,"  and 
"Incipiunt  aphorismi  excellen- 
tissimi  Raby  Moyses  secundum 
doctrinam  GaUeni  medicorum 

'  Moses  ben  Maimon,  De  as- 
trologia  .  .  .  epistola,  1555,  He- 
brew text  and  Latin  translation. 

*  See  the  preface  as  given  in  the 
French  translation  by  L  M.  Rab- 
binowicz,  Paris,  1865.  There  is  a 
German  translation  by  M.  Stein- 
schneider,  Gifte  und  Ihre  Heil- 
ungen,    Berlin,    1873. 

'Levy    (1911),  237. 


to  the  Inquisition.  The  Maimonist  party  then  accused  them 
of  delation  and  several  of  them  were  punished  by  having 
their  tongues  cut  out.^ 

If  certain  Christian  authorities  really  did  thus  burn  the  His  works 
books  of  Maimonides,  their  action  was  unavailing  to  check 
the  spread  of  his  writings  even  in  Christian  lands,  and  cer- 
tainly was  not  characteristic  of  the  attitude  of  Christian 
Latin  learning  in  general.  The  Guide  of  the  Perplexed 
had  already  been  translated  into  Latin  before  1234,"  and 
we  find  Moses  of  Cordova  cited  by  such  staunch  churchmen 
as  Alexander  of  Hales,  Albertus  Magnus,^  Thomas  Aquinas, 
and  Vincent  of  Beauvais.  It  was  for  Pope  Clement  V  him- 
self that  Ermengard  Blasius  of  Montpellier  translated  at 
Barcelona  Maimonides'  work  on  Poisons  at  the  beginning  of 
the  fourteenth  century  from  Arabic  into  Latin. ^ 

It  was  not  surprising  that  Albert  and  Aquinas  should    Attitude 

to  science 
cite    Maimonides,    for    he   did    for   Jewish    thought    what   and 

they  attempted  for  Christian,  namely,  the  reconciliation  religion, 
of  Aristotle  and  the  Bible,  philosophy  and  written  reve- 
lation. If  he  anteceded  them  in  this  and  perhaps  to  some 
extent  showed  them  the  way,  we  must  remember  that 
William  of  Conches,  who  was  earlier  than  he,  had  already 
faced  this  difficulty  of  the  relations  between  science  and 
religion,  the  scriptures  and  the  writings  of  the  philosophers, 
although  he  of  course  did  not  know  all  the  books  of  Aris- 
totle.    As     for    Maimonides,    continuing    the    allegorical 

^  Levy    (1911),    233,    who    cites  which    the    Jewish    opponents    of 

"pour      le     detail"      Kobeg      III ;  Maimonides'  teaching  induced  the 

'Henda  ghenonza,   18,  Konigsberg,  church  to  consign  to  the  flames. 

1856;    Taam   zeqanim,   Frankfurt,  The   Latin    translation   in    CUL 

1854.  171 1    (Qi.    L    19),    fols.    1-183,    is 

^  Levy    (1911),    261,    "Le    Guide  ascribed   in  the  catalogue  to  Au- 

avait   diJ   etre   traduit  en   latin   au  gustinus    Justinianus,    Nebiensium 

debut    du    XII le    siecle,    attendu  Episcopus,    and    is    said    to    have 

que,  des  ce  moment,  on  releve  des  been  printed  in   Paris,   1520. 

traces    de    son    influence    dans    la  '  M.  Joel,  Verhdltnis  Albert  des 

scolastique.  .  .  .  Moise  de  Salerno  Grossen    cu    Moses    Maimonides, 

declare  qu'il  a  lu  le  Guide  en  latin  1863.      A.     Rohner,    Das    Schbp- 

avec  Nicolo  Paglia  di  Giovenazzo,  fungsproblem   bei  Moses  Maimo- 

qui    fonda    en     1224    un    convent  nides,      Albertus      Magnus,      und 

dominicain  a  Trani."  Thomas  von  Aquin.  1913. 

According    to    Gottheil,    it    was  *  See     his     preface     in     Corpus 

this  Latin  translation  of  the  Guide  Christi   125,   fol.   ir. 


method  of  Philo,  he  tried  to  discover  in  the  Old  Testament 
and  Talmud  all  the  Aristotelian  philosophy,  and  was  con- 
vinced that  the  prophets  of  old  had  received  further  revela- 
tions of  a  philosophical  character,  which  had  been  trans- 
mitted orally  for  a  time  but  then  lost  during  the  periods 
of  Jewish  wandering  and  persecution.^  He  defended  Moses 
from  the  slurs  of  Galen  who  had  charged  the  lawgiver  with 
an  unscientific  attitude.^  He  denied  the  eternity  of  matter^ 
and  of  the  heavens,*  but  held  that  the  celestial  bodies  were 
living  animated  beings  and  that  the  heavenly  spheres  were 
conscious  and  free.^  He  spoke  of  belief  in  demons  as  "idle 
and  fallacious,"  holding  that  evil  is  mere  privation  and 
that  the  personal  Devil  of  Scripture  was  an  allegory  for  this, 
while  the  possession  by  demons  was  merely  the  disease  of 
melancholy.®  Yet  he  believed  that  God  does  nothing  with- 
out the  mediation  of  an  angel  and  that  belief  in  the  exist- 
ence of  angels  is  only  second  in  importance  to  a  belief  in 
God.'^  Thus  the  rationalism  and  scepticism  which  modern 
Jewish  admirers  have  ascribed  to  Maimonides  had  their 
decided  limitations. 
Attitude  An  interesting  discussion  of  magic  occurs  in  the  Guide 

'°    .  for  the  Perplexed  ^  in  connection  with  the  precepts  of  the 

Mosaic  law  against  idolatry.  Maimonides  holds  that  ma- 
gicians and  diviners  are  closely  akin  to  idolaters,  and  this 
part  of  his  discussion  is  very  similar  to  patristic  treatments 
which  we  have  already  encountered.  He  goes  on,  however, 
to  say  that  astrology  and  magic  were  especially  charac- 
teristic of  the  Chaldeans,  Egyptians,  and  Canaanites,  and 
to  distinguish  three  varieties  of  magic :  one  employing  the 
properties  of  plants,  animals  and  metals;  a  second  deter- 
mining the  times  when  these  works  should  be  performed; 

^Jewish  Encyclopedia,  p.  74.  'JE,  p.  77. 

'  Aphorismi    (1489),    partic.    25.  'Levy    (1911),    p.    86. 

"Et  ostendam  hac  demonstratione  'Levy    (1911),   p.  84. 

quod     insipientia    quam     attribuit  °  Finkelscherer    (1894),    PP-   40- 

Moysi       erat       attribuenda       ipsi  51. 
Galieno    vere    et    ponam    dictum  '  Levy,  pp.  89-90. 

meum    inter  eos  sicut  inter  duos  ^  More    Nevochim    (1629),    III, 

sapientes      unum      compilatiorem  37. 
alio.  .  .  ." 




a  third  employing  gesticulations,  actions,  and  cries  of  the 
human  operator  himself.  Thus  he  recognizes  the  three  ele- 
ments of  materials,  times,  and  rites  in  magic.  He  sees  that 
they  may  be  combined  in  one  operation,  as  when  an  herb  is 
plucked  when  the  moon  is  in  a  specified  degree.  He  notes 
that  magic  is  largely  performed  by  women,  towards  whom 
men  are  more  merciful  than  towards  their  own  sex.  He 
also  notes  that  magicians  claim  to  do  good  or  at  least  to 
ward  off  evils  such  as  snakes  and  wild  beasts  or  the  blight 
from  plants.  But  the  lawgiver  forbade  "all  those  practices 
which  contrary  to  natural  science  are  said  to  produce  utility 
by  special  and  occult  virtues  and  properties,  .  .  .  such  for- 
sooth as  proceed  not  from  a  natural  cause  but  a  magical 
operation  and  which  rely  upon  the  constellations  to  such 
a  degree  as  to  involve  worship  and  veneration  of  them."  ^ 

But  then  Maimonides  goes  on  to  say  that  "everything  Towards 
is  licit  in  which  any  natural  cause  appears."  And  he  goes 
farther  than  that.  He  says  that  the  reader  need  not  feel 
uneasy  because  the  rabbis  have  allowed  the  use  in  suspen- 
sions of  a  nail  from  the  yoke  worn  by  criminals  or  the 
tooth  of  a  fox.  "For  in  those  times  they  placed  faith  in 
these  things  because  they  were  confirmed  by  experience 
and  served  in  the  place  of  medicine."  Similarly  in 
Maimonides'  own  day  Galen's  remedy  of  the  suspension  of 
a  peony  from  the  patient's  neck  was  employed  in  cases  of 
epilepsy,  dog's  dung  was  used  against  pustules  and  sore 
throat,  and  so  forth.  "For  whatever  is  proved  by  experi- 
ence to  be  true,  although  no  natural  cause  may  be  apparent, 
its  use  is  permitted,  because  it  acts  as  a  medicine."  Thus  he 
condemns  magic,  but  approves  of  empirical  medicine  as  well 
as  of  natural  science,  and  evidently  does  not  regard  the  em- 
ployment of  occult  virtues  as  necessarily  magical  and  for- 


* ".  .  .  interdixit  omnia  ea  quae 
contra  speculationem  naturalem 
specialibus  et  occultis  viribus  ac 
proprietatibus  utilitatem  afferre 
asserunt  .  .  .  talia  videlicet  quae 
non    ex    ratione    natural!    sed    ex 

opere  magico  sequuntur  et  stella- 
rum  dispositionibus  ac  rationibus 
innituntur,  unde  necessario  ad 
colendas  et  venerandas  illas  de- 



Abuse  of 



virtue  and 
in  his 
work  on 

In  another  passage  of  the  Guide  Maimonides  cautions, 
however,  against  the  abuse  of  divine  names,  and,  while  he 
holds  to  the  Tetragrammaton  "which  is  written  but  is  not 
pronounced  as  it  is  spelled,"  deplores  the  many  inventions 
of  meaningless  and  inefficacious  names  which  superstitious 
and  insane  men  have  too  often  imposed  upon  the  credulity 
of  good  men  as  possessed  of  peculiar  sanctity  and  purity 
and  having  the  virtue  of  working  miracles.  He  therefore 
warns  his  readers  against  such  "amulets  or  experimental 
charts."  ^ 

Maimonides  again  approves  of  empirical  remedies  and 
of  occult  virtues  in  his  treatise  on  poisons.  He  holds  that 
counter-poisons  do  not  act  by  any  physical  or  chemical 
quality  but  by  their  entire  substance  or  by  a  special  prop- 
erty.^ Lemon  pips,  peeled  and  applied  in  a  compress;  a 
powdered  emerald,  which  should  be  a  beautiful  green,  quite 
transparent,  and  of  good  water;  and  the  animal  bezoar, 
which  comes  from  the  eyes  or  gall  bladder  of  deer;  these  are 
antidotes  whose  efficacy  is  proved  by  incontestible  experi- 
mentation. When  terra  sigillata  cannot  be  had,  a  powdered 
emerald  of  the  sort  just  described  may  be  substituted  for 
it  as  an  ingredient  in  the  grand  theriac.^  Maimonides  be- 
lieves that  this  last  named  remedy  is  the  outcome  of  experi- 
ments with  vipers  carried  on  through  the  course  of  centuries 
by  ancient  philosophers  and  physicians.'*  As  for  the  stone 
hezoar,  the  writings  of  the  moderns  are  full  of  marvelous 
tales  concerning  it,  but  Galen  does  not  mention  it,  and 
Maimonides  has  tried  all  the  varieties  which  he  could  ob- 
tain against  scorpion  bites  without  the  least  success.  But 
experience  confirms  the  virtue  of  the  hezoar  of  animal 
origin,  as  has  been  stated.  Maimonides'  observations  con- 
cerning cures  for  the  bites  of  mad  dogs  are  interesting.  He 
states  that  at  first  the  bite  of  a  mad  dog  does  not  feel  any 
different  from  that  of  a  dog  who  is  not  mad.  He  also 
warns  his  readers  not  to  trust  to  books  to  distinguish  between 
^  More  Ncvochim   (1629),  I,  61-      26. 


'French   translation    (1865),   p. 

^Ibid.,  pp.  27-28,  53-4. 
*Ibid.,  p.  38. 




the  two,  but  unless  they  are  sure  that  the  dog  was  not  mad, 
to  keep  on  the  safe  side  by  taking  the  remedies  against  the 
bite  of  a  mad  dog.^  He  also  states  that  all  of  the  various 
remedies  listed  for  the  cure  of  the  bite  of  a  mad  dog  must 
be  employed  before  hydrophobia  manifests  itself,  "for  after 
the  appearance  of  that  symptom,  I  have  never  seen  a  patient 
survive."  ^  In  speaking  of  sucking  the  venom  from  a 
wound,  Maimonides  affirms  that  it  is  better  to  have  this 
done  by  a  fasting  person,  since  the  spittle  of  such  a  person 
is  itself  hostile  to  poisons.^ 

That  Maimonides  was  well  acquainted  with  the  art  of  Attitude 
astrology  may  be  inferred  from  his  assertion  that  he  has  trology. 
read  every  book  in  Arabic  on  the  subject.'*  Maimonides 
not  only  believed  that  the  stars  were  living,  animated  beings 
and  that  there  were  as  many  pure  intelligences  as  there  were 
spheres,^  but  he  states  twice  in  the  Guide  for  the  Perplexed  '^ 
that  all  philosophers  agree  that  this  inferior  world  of 
generation  and  corruption  is  ruled  by  the  virtues  and  influ- 
ences of  the  celestial  spheres.  While  their  influence  is 
diffused  through  all  things,  each  star  or  planet  also  has 
particular  species  especially  under  its  influence.  According 
to  Levy  '^  he  further  held  not  only  that  the  movement  of 
the  celestial  sphere  starts  every  motion  in  the  universe,  but 
that  every  soul  has  its  origin  in  the  soul  of  the  celestial 
sphere.  In  his  letter  on  astrology  to  the  Jews  of  Marseilles 
he  repeats  that  all  the  philosophers  have  held,  and  that  He- 
brew masters  of  the  past  have  agreed  with  them,  that  what- 
ever is  in  this  inferior  world  the  blessed  God  has  brought 
about  by  that  virtue  which  arises  from  the  spheres  and 
stars.  As  God  performs  signs  and  miracles  by  angels,  so 
natural  processes  and  operations  by  the  spheres  and  stars 
which  are  animated  and  endowed  with  knowledge  and 
science.  All  this  is  true  and  in  no  way  derogates  from  the 
Jewish  faith.     But  Maimonides  regards  as   folly  and  not 

*  Poisons  (1865),  p.  43. 

*  Ibid.,  p.  40. 

*  Ibid.,  p.  21. 

'  So  he  states  at  the  beginning 

of  his  De  astrologia  (i5S5)- 
•Levy  (191 1),  PP-  84-5. 
*II,  5  and    ID. 
'Levy  (191 1 ),  p.  87. 






wisdom  the  doctrine  found  in  Arabic  works  of  astrology  that 
a  man's  nativity  compels  everything  to  happen  to  him  just 
as  it  does  and  in  no  otherwise.  He  regards  this  doctrine 
as  derived  from  the  Chaldeans,  Egyptians,  and  Canaanites 
and  makes  the  rather  rash  assertion  that  no  Greek  philoso- 
pher ever  wrote  a  book  of  this  sort.  This  doctrine  would 
make  no  distinction  between  a  man  whom  a  lion  meets  and 
tears  limb  from  limb  and  the  mouse  which  a  cat  plays  with. 
It  would  make  men  warring  for  kingdoms  no  different  from 
dogs  fighting  over  a  carcass.  These  illustrations  may 
seem  to  the  reader  rather  favorable  to  the  doctrine  which 
Maimonides  is  endeavoring  to  combat,  but  he  upholds 
human  free  will  and  man's  responsibility  for  his  actions, 
which  he  declares  are  fundamental  tenets  of  the  Jewish 
law.  For  some  reason  which  is  not  clear  to  me  he  identifies 
the  doctrine  of  nativities  and  the  control  of  human  destiny 
by  the  constellations  with  the  rule  of  blind  chance  and  the 
happening  of  everything  fortuitously,  which  would  seem 
quite  a  different  matter  and  third  alternative.^  Maimonides 
holds  that  God  planned  all  human  affairs  beforehand,  and 
that  just  as  He  planned  the  course  of  nature  so  as  to  allow 
for  the  occurrence  of  miracles,  so  He  planned  human  affairs 
in  such  a  way  that  men  could  be  held  responsible  and 
punished  for  their  sins.  Maimonides  regards  the  rule  of 
chance  and  the  doctrine  of  nativities  as  incompatible  with 

Yet  Maimonides  believed  in  a  human  faculty  of  natural 
divination,  stating  that  the  ability  to  conjecture  and  divine 
is  found  in  all  men  to  some  degree,  and  that  in  some  imagi- 
nation and  divination  are  so  strong  and  sure  that  they  cor- 
rectly forecast  all  future  events  or  the  greater  part  of  them.^ 
The  difference  between  true  prophets  and  the  diviners  and 
observers  of  times  "is  that  the  observers  of  times,  diviners, 

sphaeras  et  stellas  fieri  etiam 
dicunt  quicquid  mortalibus  con- 
tingit  id  casu  temere  et  fortuito 
fieri  et  nullam  de  supernis  causam 
habere,  nee  ea  in  re  quicquam." 
*  More  Nevochitn  ^^1629),  II,  38. 

*And  the  following  passage 
seems  quite  confused  and  illogi- 
cal ;  but  perhaps  the  fault  is  with 
the  Latin  translator :  "Ad  haec 
omnes  illae  tres  sectae  philoso- 
phorum  qui  asseverant  omnia  per 


and  such  men,  some  of  their  words  may  be  fulfilled  and 
some  of  them  may  not  be  fulfilled."  ^ 

In  his  Aphorisms  which  are  drawn  largely  from  the  Marvels 
works  of  Galen  Maimonides  repeats  many  marvelous  stories,  ^2phorisn 
instances  of  belief  in  occult  virtue,  and  medical  methods 
bordering  upon  the  practice  of  magic.-  Most  of  these  have 
already  been  mentioned  in  our  chapters  upon  Galen  and 
need  not  be  reiterated  here.  It  is  perhaps  worth  noting  that 
Maimonides  displays  some  critical  sense  as  to  the  authen- 
ticity of  works  ascribed  to  Galen.  He  does  not  accept  as 
his  a  treatise  forbidding  the  burial  of  a  man  until  twenty- 
four  hours  after  his  supposed  death,  although  the  patriarch 
who  translated  it  from  Greek  into  Arabic  regarded  it  as 
Galen's.  Maimonides  suggests  that  it  may  be  by  some  other 
Galen  than  the  great  physician  "whose  books  are  well 
known."  Maimonides  also  notes  that  in  the  work  of  Hip- 
pocrates on  female  ailments  which  Galen  commented  upon 
and  Hunain  translated  there  have  been  added  many  state- 
ments of  a  marvelous  character  by  some  third  hand. 

^  Yad-Hachazakah,   (1863),  I,  i,  a     miraculis     repertis     in     libris 

X,  pp.  63-4.  medicorum."       It     is     rather     to 

'These  occur  in  the  24th  section  Maimonides'  credit  that  he  segre- 

which  is  devoted  to  medical  mar-  gated  these  marvels  in  a  separate 

vels :      "Incipit      particula      xxiiii  chapter, 
continens  aphorismos  dependentes 



Prince  Khalid  ibn  Jazid  and  The  Book  of  Morienus — Robert  of 
Chester's  preface — The  story  of  Morienus  and  Calid — The  secret  of 
the  philosopher's  stone — Later  medieval  works  of  alchemy  ascribed  to 
Hermes — Medieval  citations  of  Hermes  otherwise  than  as  an  alchemist 
— Astrological  treatises — Of  the  Six  Principles  of  Things — Liber  lune — 
Images  of  the  seven  planets — Book  of  Venus  of  Toz  Graecus — Further 
mentions  of  Toz  Graecus — Toz  the  same  as  Thoth  or  Trismegistus — 
Magic  experiments. 

Prince         Al-Mas'udi,  who  lived  from  about  885  to  956  A.  D.,  has 

Klialid  .  .  .  .  1  1      r  1 

ibn  Jazid  preserved  a  single  recipe  for  making  gold  from  the 
^id  The  alchemical  poem,  The  Paradise  of  Wisdom,  originally  con- 
Morienus.  sisting  of  some  2315  verses  and  written  by  the  Ommiad 
prince,  Khalid  ibn  Jazid  (635-704  A.  D.)  of  Alexandria. 
Other  Arabic,  writers  of  the  ninth  and  tenth  centuries  repre- 
sent this  prince  as  interested  in  natural  science  and  medi- 
cine, alchemy  and  astrology,  and  as  the  first  to  promote 
translations  from  the  Greek  and  Coptic.  Thus  the  alchemistic 
Book  of  Crates  is  said  to  have  been  translated  either  by 
him  or  under  his  direction.  The  Fihrist  further  states  that 
Khalid  was  instructed  in  alchemy  by  one  Morienes,  who 
was  himself  a  disciple  of  Adfar.^  There  is  still  extant,  but 
only  in  Latin  translation,  what  purports  to  be  the  book  of 
this  same  Morienes,  or  Morienus  as  he  is  called  in  Latin, 
addressed  to  this  same  Khalid.  The  book  cites  or  invents 
various  Greek  alchemists  but  claims  the  Thrice-Great 
Hermes  as  its  original  author.  It  is  of  this  work  that  we 
shall  now  treat  as  the  first  of  a  number  of  medieval  Hermetic 

*  For  detailed  references  for  this  and  the  preceding  statements  see 
Lippmann  (1919),  PP-  357-9- 





One  of  the  earliest  treatises  of  alchemy  translated  from  Robert  of 
Arabic  into  Latin  would  appear  to  be  this  which  Morienus  preface/ 
Romanus,  a  hermit  of  Jerusalem,  edited  for  "Calid,  king  of 
the  Egyptians,"  and  which  Robert  of  Chester  turned  into 
Latin  ^  on  the  eleventh  day  of  February  in  the  year  1182 
of  the  Spanish  era  or  1144  A.  D.  Of  Robert's  other  trans- 
lations we  have  spoken  elsewhere.^  He  opens  his  preface 
to  the  present  treatise  with  an  account  of  three  Hermeses 
— Enoch,  Noah,  and  the  king,  philosopher,  and  prophet  who 
reigned  in  Egypt  after  the  flood  and  was  called  Hermes 
Triplex,  This  account  is  very  similar  to  one  which  we 
shall  presently  find  prefixed  to  an  astrological  treatise  by- 
Hermes  Trismegistus.  It  was  this  Hermes,  Robert  con- 
tinues, who  rediscovered  and  edited  all  the  arts  and  sciences 
after  the  deluge,  and  who  first  found  and  published  the  pres- 
ent work,  which  is  a  book  divine  and  most  replete  with 
divinity,  and  which  is  entitled,  The  Book  of  the  Composi- 
tion of  Alchemy.  "And  since,"  says  Robert,  "what  alchemy 
is  and  what  is  its  composition,  your  Latin  world  does  not 
yet  know  truly,^  I  will  elucidate  the  same  in  the  present 
treatise."  Alchemy  is  that  substance  which  joins  the  more 
precious  bodies  which  are  compounded  from  one  original 
matter  and  by  this  same  natural  union  converts  them  to 
the  higher  type.     In  other  words,   it  is  the  philosopher's 

^  I  have  used  the  edition  of 
Paris,  1564,  Liber  de  compositione 
alchemiae  quern  edidit  Morienus 
Romanus  Calid  Regi  Aegyptiorum 
Quern  Robertus  Castreiisis  de 
Arabico  in  Latinutn  transtulit.  A 
number  of  MSS  of  the  work  will 
be  found  listed  in  the  index  of 
Black's  Catalogue  of  the  Ashmo- 
lean  MSS,  and  elsewhere,  as  in 
Sloane  3697  and  Digby  162,  13th 
century,  fols.  2iv  and  23r.  Other 
editions  are  Basel,  1559;  Basel, 
1503,  in  Artis  Auriferae  qiiam 
Chemiam  vacant,  II,  1-54;  and 
Geneva,  1702.  in  J.  J.  Manget, 
Bibliotheca  Chemica  Curiosa,  I, 

^  See  above,  chapter  38.  p.  8^ 
^Berthelot    (1893)    1,   234,    toe.k 

the  date  to  be  1182  A.  D.  and  so, 
on  the  basis  of  this  remark,  placed 
the  introduction  of  Arabic  al- 
chemy into  Latin  learning  38 
years  too  late.  It  is  rather  amus- 
ing that  Lippmann,  who  elsewhere 
avails  himself  of  petty  pretexts 
to  belittle  the  work  of  Berthelot, 
should  have  overlooked  this  error. 
He  still  (1919),  pp.  358  and  482, 
states  the  date  as  1182  A.  D.,  al- 
though he  is  puzzled  how  to  rec- 
oncile it  with  that  of  1143  A.  D. 
for  Robertus  Castrensis  or  Robert 
de  Retines.  He  also  is  at  a  loss 
as  to  the  identity  of  this  Robert 
or  the  meaning  of  "Castrensis," 
and  has  no  knowledge  of  the  pub- 
lications of  Karpinski  (1915)  and 
Haskins,  EHR    (J915). 


stone  by  which  metals  may  be  transmuted.  Although  Rob- 
ert is  a  relatively  young  man  and  his  Latinity  perhaps  not 
of  the  best,  he  essays  the  task  of  translating  this  so  great 
and  important  a  work  and  reveals  his  own  name  in  the 
preface  lest  some  other  person  steal  the  fruits  of  his  labor 
and  the  praise  which  is  his  due.  Lippmann  dismisses  the 
translation  rather  testily  as  "surpassed  by  no  later  work  for 
emptiness,  confusion,  and  sheer  drivel,"*^  but  we  shall  at- 
tempt some  further  description. 
The  Following  Robert's  preface  comes  an  account,   in  the 

Momnus  usual  style  of  apocryphal  and  occult  works,  told  partly  in 
andCalid.  the  first  person  by  Morienus  and  partly  of  him  in  the  third 
person  by  someone  else.  Long  after  Christ's  passion  an 
Ad  far  of  Alexandria  found  the  book  of  Hermes,  mastered 
it  after  long  study,  and  himself  gave  forth  innumerable 
precepts  which  were  spread  abroad  and  finally  reached  the 
ears  of  Morienus,  then  a  young  man  at  Rome.  This  reminds 
us  of  the  opening  of  the  Recognitions  of  Clement.  Morienus 
left  his  home,  parents,  and  native  land,  and  hastened  to 
Alexandria  to  the  house  of  Adfar.  When  Adfar  learned 
that  Morienus  was  a  Christian,  he  promised  to  divulge  to 
him  "the  secrets  of  all  divinity,"  which  he  had  hitherto  kept 
concealed  from  nearly  everyone.  When  Adfar  died, 
Morienus  left  Alexandria  and  became  a  hermit  at  Jerusa- 
lem. Not  many  years  thereafter  a  king  arose  in  Egypt 
named  Macoya,  He  begat  a  son  named  Gezid  who  reigned 
after  his  father's  death  and  in  his  turn  begat  a  son  named 
Calid  who  reigned  after  his  death.  This  Calid  was  a  great 
patron  of  science  and  searched  all  lands  for  someone  who 
could  reveal  this  book  of  Hermes  to  him.  Morienus  was 
still  living,  and  when  a  traveler  brought  him  news  of  Calid 
and  his  desire,  he  came  to  his  court,  not  for  the  sake  of 
the  gifts  of  gold  which  the  king  had  offered,  but  in  order 
to  instruct  him  with  spiritual  gifts.  Saluting  Calid  with 
the  words,  "O  good  king,  may  God  convert  you  to  a  better," 
he  asked  for  a  house  or  laboratory  in  which  to  prepare  his 
*  Lippmann   (1919),  p.  358. 




masterpiece  of  perfection,  but  departed  secretly  as  soon  as 
it  was  consummated.  When  Calid  saw  the  gold  which 
Morienus  had  made,  he  ordered  the  heads  to  be  cut  oflf  of 
all  the  other  alchemists  whom  he  had  employed  for  years, 
and  grieved  that  the  hermit  had  left  without  revealing  his 

More  years  passed  before  Calid's  trusty  slave,  Galip, 
learned  the  identity  and  whereabouts  of  Morienus  from  an- 
other hermit  of  Jerusalem  and  was  despatched  with  a  laree 
retinue  to  bring  him  back.  The  king  and  the  hermit  at 
first  engaged  in  a  moral  and  religious  discussion,  and  many 
days  passed  before  Calid  ventured  to  broach  the  subject  of 
alchemy.  He  then  put  to  Morienus  a  succession  of  ques- 
tions, such  as  whether  there  is  one  fundamental  substance, 
and  concerning  the  nature  and  color  of  the  philosopher's 
stone,  also  its  natural  composition,  weight  and  taste,  cheap- 
ness or  expensiveness,  rarity  or  abundance,  and  whether 
there  is  any  other  stone  like  unto  it  or  which  has  its  effect. 
This  last  query  Morienus  answered  in  the  negative,  since  in 
the  philosopher's  stone  are  contained  the  four  elements  and 
it  is  like  unto  the  universe  and  the  composition  of  the  uni- 
verse. In  the  process  of  obtaining  it  decay  must  come  first, 
then  purification.  As  in  human  generation,  there  must  first 
be  coitus,  then  conception,  then  pregnancy,  then  birth,  then 
nutrition.  To  such  general  observations  and  analogies, 
which  are  commonplaces  of  alchemy,  are  finally  added  sev- 
eral pages  of  specific  directions  as  to  alchemistic  operations. 
Such  enigmatic  nomenclature  is  employed  as  "white  smoke," 
and  "green  lion,"  but  Morienus  later  explains  to  Calid  the 
significance  of  most  of  these  phrases.  "Green  lion"  is  glass; 
"impure  body"  'is  lead ;  "pure  body"  is  tin,  and  so  on. 

In  so  far  as  I  have  examined  the  alchemical  manu- 
scripts of  the  later  middle  ages,^  which  I  have  not  done  very 

*  Berthelot  is  a  poor  guide  in 
any  such  matter  since  his  preten- 
tious volumes  on  medieval  al- 
chemy are  based  on  the  study  of 
a  comparatively  small  number  of 
MSS  at  Paris.     He  made  little  or 

no  use  of  the  Sloane  collection  in 
the  British  Aluseum  which  is  very 
rich  in  alchemical  MSS,  a  subject 
in  which  Sir  Hans  Sloane  was 
apparently  much  interested,  or  of 
the  Ashmolean  collection  at  Ox- 


secret  of 
the  phi- 



works  of 
to  Hermes. 

extensively  owing  to  the  fact  that  most  of  them  consist  of 
anonymous  and  spurious  compositions  which  are  probably 
of  a  later  date  than  the  period  with  which  we  are  directly 
concerned/  I  have  hardly  found  as  many  treatises  ascribed 
to  Hermes  Trismegistus  as  might  be  expected.  Perhaps  as 
many  works  are  ascribed  to  Aristotle,  Geber,  and  other 
famous  names  as  to  Hermes  or  Mercury.  Thus  out  of  some 
forty  items  in  an  alchemical  miscellany  of  the  fourteenth 
or  fifteenth  century  ^  two  are  attributed  to  Hermes  and 
Mercury,  two  to  Aristotle,  one  to  Plato,  three  to  Geber, 
two  to  Albertus  Magnus,  and  others  to  his  contemporaries 
like  Roger  Bacon,  Brother  Elias,  Bonaventura,  and  Arnald 
of  Villanova.  Of  the  two  titles  connected  with  Hermes 
one  is  simply  a  Book  of  Hermes;  the  other,  A  Treatise  of 
Mercury  to  his  disciple  Mirnesindus.  Other  specimens  of 
works  ascribed  to  Hermes  in  medieval  Latin  manuscripts 
are :  The  Secrets  of  Hermes  the  philosopher,  inventor  of 
metals,  according  to  the  nature  of  transmutation^  or  in  an- 
other manuscript,  "inventor  of  transformation,"  ^  a  treatise 

ford,  although  Elias  Ashmole 
edited  the  Theatrum  Chemicutn 
Britannicum,  1652,  "containing 
several  poetical  pieces  of  our 
famous  English  philosophers  who 
have  written  the  hermetic  mys- 
teries in  their  own  ancient  lan- 
guage,"— a  work  in  which  Ashmole 
himself  is  called  Mercuriophilus 

^  The  two  earliest  MSS  used 
by  Berthelot  for  medieval  Latin 
alchemy  were  BN  6514  and  7156 
of  the  late  13th  or  early  14th  cen- 
tury. In  an  earlier  chapter  we 
have  mentioned  Berlin  956  of  the 
I2th  century,  fol.  21,  "Hie  incipit 
alchamia,"  and  probably  a  fairly 
long  list  could  be  made  of  al- 
chemical MSS  of  the  13th  cen- 
tury, like  Digby  162  mentioned  in 
a  previous  note  to  this  chapter. 
However,  as  a  rule  the  numerous 
alchemical  collections  in  the 
Sloane  MSS — a  majority  of  the 
MSS  numbered  from  about  3600 

to  about  3900  are  in  whole  or 
part  concerned  with  alchemy,  as 
well  as  a  number  of  earlier  num- 
bers— are  not  earlier  than  the  14th 
and  15th  centuries,  and  many  are 
subsequent  to  the  invention  of 

'  Riccard.     119. 

'  Sloane  1698,  14th  century,  fol. 
53-,  "Hie  incipiunt  secreta  Her- 
metis  inventoris  metallorum  se- 
cundum transmutationis  naturam 
.../.,.  Explicit  Hermes  de 
salibus  et  corporibus." 

Corpus  Christi,  125,  fols.  39-42, 
"Incipiunt  secreta  Hermetis  phi- 
losophi  inventoris  metallorum 
secundum    mutacionis   naturam." 

*  Library  of  the  Dukes  of  Bur- 
gundy 4275,  13th  century,  Secreta 
Hermetis  philosophi  "Inventor 
transformationis."  The  preceding 
item  4274  is  in  the  same  MS  and 
consists  of  an  exposition  of 
Hermes'  words,  "Quoniam  ea 
quae  .  .  ."  etc. 







on  the  fountain  of  youth  by  Trismegistus ;  ^  and  a  work  on 
alcohol  ascribed  to  "father  Hermes."  ^  The  Early  English 
Text  Society  has  reprinted  an  English  translation  of  the 
Latin  treatise  on  the  fifth  essence  "that  Hermes,  the  prophet 
and  king  of  Egypt,  after  the  flood  of  Noah,  father  of 
philosophers,  had  by  revelation  of  an  angel  of  God  to  him 
sent,"  which  was  first  published  "about  1460- 1476  by  Fred 
J.  Furnival."  ^  "The  book  of  Hermogenes"  is  also  to  be 
accredited  to  Hermes  Trismegistus.^ 

Among  the  Arabs  and  in  medieval  Latin  learning  the 
reputation  of  Hermes  continued  not  only  as  an  alchemist, 
but  as  a  fountain  of  wisdom  in  general.  Roger  Bacon  spoke  Hermes 
of  "Hermes  Mercurius,  the  father  of  philosophers."  ^ 
Daniel  of  Morley  we  have  heard  cite  works  of  Trismegistus 
and  distinguish  between  "two  most  excellent  authorities," 
the  "great  Mercury,"  and  his  nephew,  "Trismegistus  Mer- 
curius." ®  Albertus  Magnus  cited  "The  so-called  Sacred 
Book  of  Hermes  to  Asclepius,"  "^  an  astrological  treatise  of 
which  the  Greek  version  has  been  mentioned  in  our  earlier 
chapter  on  Hermes,  Orpheus,  and  Zoroaster.  And  Albert's 
contemporary,  William  of  Auvergne,  bishop  of  Paris,  makes 
use  several  times  ^  of  the  dialogue  between  Mercurius  Tris- 
megistus, "the  Egyptian  philosopher  and  magician,"  and 
Asclepius  from  a  Liber  de  hellera  or  De  deo  deoritm, 
which  is  presumably  the  Greek    'lepa  /3i/3Xos.    Trismegistus  is 

^  Vienna  2466,  14th  century, 
fols.  85-88,  Trismegistus,  aqua 

'  Wolf  enbiittel  2841,  anno  1432, 
fols.  138-44V,  De  aque  ardentis 
virtutibus  mirabilibus  que  de  vino 
utique  fit.  .  .  . 

'Reprinted  London,  1866;  re- 
vised, 1889.  Treatises  of  alchemy 
are  also  ascribed  to  Hermes  in 
Sloane  2135,  15th  century,  and 
2327,  14th  century. 

*Arezzo  232,  15th  century,  fols. 
1-14,  "Liber  transmissus  ab  Alex- 
andro  rege  ex  libro  Hermogenis"; 
Bodleian  67,  fol.  33V  (Secret  of 
Secrets  of  the  pseudo- Aristotle), 
"Et  pater  noster  Hermogenes  qui 

triplex   est   in  philosophia  optime 
philosophando  dixit." 

*  Opus  minus,  ed.  Brewer 
(1859),  in  RS  XV,  313. 

*  Arundel  377,  13th  century, 
Philosophia  fnagistri  danielis  de 
merlai,  fols.  89r,  92V ;  these  cita- 
tions, like  many  others,  are  not 
included  in  V.  Rose's  faulty  list 
of  Daniel's  authorities  in  his 
article.  "Ptolemaeus  und  die 
Schule     von     Toledo,"     Hermes, 

vin  (1874),  327-49. 

''  De  animalibus,  XX,  i,  5,  "dicit 
Hermes  ad  Esclepium." 

*  The  passages  are  mentioned  in 
the  chapter  on  William  of  Au- 
vergne ;  see  below,  p.  350. 




represented  as  affirming  that  there  is  divine  power  in  herbs 
and  stones.  In  the  Speculum  ustronomiae  ^  Albert  Hsted  a 
number  of  bad  books  on  necromantic  images  ^  by  Hermes 
of  which  Christians  were  to  beware :  a  book  of  images  for 
each  of  the  seven  planets,  an  eighth  treatise  following  them, 
a  work  on  The  seven  rings  of  the  seven  planets,  a  book  of 
magical  illusions  (liber  praestigiorum) ,^  and  a  book  ad- 
dressed to  Aristotle.  William  of  Auvergne  ^eems  to  allude 
to  the  same  literature  when  he  twice  repeats  a  story  of  two 
fallen  angels  from  Hermes,  citing  his  Seven  Planets  in  one 
case  and  Book  of  Venus  in  the  other.^  Albertus  Magnus 
also  cites  "books  of  incantations"  by  Hermes  in  his  work 
on  vegetables  and  plants ;  ^  and  a  Liber  Alcorath  is  ascribed 
to  Hermes  in  the  Liber  aggregationis  or  Experimenta 
Alberti  which  is  current  under  Albert's  name.  The  as- 
trologer Cecco  d'Ascoli  in  the  early  fourteenth  century  cites 
a  treatise  by  Hermes  entitled  De  speculis  et  luce  (  Of  mirrors 
and  light). '^  These  few  instances  of  medieval  citation  of 
Hermes  could  of  course  be  greatly  multiplied  but  suffice  to 
suggest  the  importance  of  his  name  in  the  later  history  of 
magic  and  astrology  as  well  as  of  alchemy. 

We  may,  however,  briefly  examine  some  specimens  of 
the  works  themselves,  chiefly,  as  in  the  citations,  of  a  magical 
and  astrological  character,  which  are  current  under  Hermes' 
name  in  the  medieval  manuscripts.  A  treatise  on  fifteen 
stars,  fifteen  stones,  fifteen  herbs,  and  fifteen  images  to  be 
engraved  on  the  stones,  is  ascribed  sometimes  to  Hermes  and 
sometimes  to  Enoch. '^     The  number  fifteen  is  difficult  to 

^Spec.  astron.,  cap.  il  {Opera, 
ed.  Borgnet,  X,  641). 

'  A  book  on  necromantic  images 
by  Hermes  is  listed  in  the  1412 
A.  D.  catalogue  of  MSS  of  Am- 
plonius:  Math.  54. 

*  See  in  the  same  catalogue, 
Math.  9,  Alercurii  Colotidis  liber 

*  Opera,  Venetiis,  1591,  pp.  831, 

^  De  veget.  et  plantis,  V,  ii,  6. 
*P.  G.  Boffito,  //  Commento  di 

Cecco  d'Ascoli  all'  Alcahiszo, 
Firenze,  1905,  p.  43. 

^Catalogue  of  Amplonius  (1412 
A.  D.)  Mathematica  53,  "Liber 
Hermetis  de  quindecim  stellis,  tot 
lapidibus,  tot  herbis,  et  totidem 
figuris."  But  in  Amplon.  Quarto 
381,  fols.  43-5,  the  work  is  as- 
cribed to  Enoch,  whom  it  is  not 
surprising  that  Robert  of  Ches- 
ter classed  as  ooe  of  three  Her- 

Ashmole     1471,     14th     century. 




relate  to  planets,  signs,  or  decans;  in  fact  the  fifteen  stars 
are  fixed  stars  supposed  to  exceed  others  in  virtue.  John 
Govver  in  the  fourteenth  century  treated  of  the  same  sub- 
ject in  his  Confessio  amantis}  In  the  middle  ages  a  Centi- 
loquium,  or  series  of  brief  astrological  dicta,  was  ascribed 
to  Hermes  as  well  as  to  Ptolemy.  Some  manuscripts  imply 
that  the  Centiloquium  of  Hermes  was  a  selection  from  the 
astrological  treatises  of  Hermes  put  together  by  Stephen 
of  Messina  for  Manfred,  king  of  Sicily.^  In  a  fifteenth 
century  manuscript  is  ascribed  to  Hermes  a  Latin  astro- 
logical treatise  of  considerable  length  opening  with  the 
thirty-six  decans  and  their  astrological  influence  ^  but  deal- 
ing with  various  other  matters  bearing  upon  the  prediction 
of  nativities;  and  a  much  briefer  but  equally  astrological 
fols.  50r-55,  "Incipit  liber  Herme-       intituled  De  confessioii£  amantis.' 

tis  de  15  Stellis,  15  lapidibus,  15 
herbis  et   15  ymaginibus." 

Ashmole  341,  13th  century,  fols. 

Corpus  Christi  125,  fols.  70-75. 

Royal  12-C-XVIII,  14th  cen- 

Harleian  80,   14th  century. 

Harleian   1612. 

Sloane  3847,  17th  century. 

BN   7440,    14th   century.   No.  4. 

Vienna  5311,  I4-I5th  century, 
fols.  37-40. 

Vienna  3124,  15th  century, 
fols.  161-2,  De  Stellis  fixis,  trans- 
latus  a  Mag.  Salione,  is  perhaps 
the  same  work.  This  Salio,  who 
seems  to  have  been  a  canon  at 
Padua,  also  translated  Alchabitius 
on  nativities  from  Arabic  into 
Latin:  Ibid.,  fols.  96-123;  BN 
7336,  15th  century.  If  13;  S. 
Marco  XI-iio,  15th  century,  fols. 
40-1 1 1. 

By  the  fourteenth  century  the 
work  had  been  translated  into 
French : 

CU  Trinity  1313,  early  14th 
century,  fol.  11-,  "Cy  commence 
le  livre  Hermes  le  Philosofre 
parlaunt  des  15  esteilles  greyndres 
fixes  et  15  pierres  preciouses,"  etc. 

'Sloane  3847,  fol.  83.  "What 
stones  and  hearbes  are  appropria- 
ted unto  the  15  Starres  accord- 
inge  to  John  Gower  in  his  booke 

'  Amplon,  Quarto  354,  mid 
14th  century,  fols.  1-3,  "Centilo- 
quium Hermetis  .  .  .  domino 
Manfrido  inclito  regi  Cicilie  Ste- 
phanus  de  Messana  has  flores  de 
secretis  astrologie  divi  Hermetis 

CLM  51,  1487-1503  A.  D.,  fols. 
46V-49,  Hermetis  divini  Proposi- 
tiones  sive  flores  Stephanus  de 
Messana  transtulit.  Other  MSS 
are   numerous. 

Printed  before  1500;  I  have 
used  an  edition  numbered  I  A. 1 1947 
in  the  British  Museum.  It  was 
printed  behind  Ptolemy  at  Venice 
in    1493. 

'Harleian  3731,  15th  century, 
fols.  ir-5or,  "Incipit  liber  hermetis 
trismegisti  de  XXXVI  decanis 
XII  signorum  et  formis  eorum  et 
de  climatibus  et  faciebus  quas 
habent  planete  in  eisdem  signis." 
After  this  rubric  the  text 
opens,  "Triginta  sex  autem  de- 
cani"; closes,  ".  .  .  aspexerit  ilium 
dictis  prius  mori."  It  is  obvious- 
ly different  from  the  Dialogue 
with  Asclepius  included  in  the 
works  of  Apuleius  and  longer 
than  the  Greek  astrological  text 
dealing  with  the  thirty-six  decans 
published  by  J.  B.  Pitra,  Analecta 
Sacra,  V,  ii,  284-90.  The  discus- 
sion of  the  decans  terminates  at 
the  bottom  of   fol.  2. 


work  on  Accidents,  which  we  are  told  was  rewritten  by  Haly 
before  it  was  translated  into  Latin. ^  Two  books  of  "Hermes 
the  Philosopher"  on  the  revolutions  of  nativities  by  some 
unspecified  translator  were  printed  by  H.  Wolf  in  1559.^ 
A  work  on  medical  diagnosis  of  diseases  from  the  stars 
without  inspection  of  urine  which  is  ascribed  to  Hermes  in 
a  Wolfenbiittel  manuscript  ^  would  probably  turn  out  upon 
examination  to  be  the  treatise  on  that  theme  of  William 
of  England. 
Of  the  By  the  thirteenth  century,  if  not  before,  a  treatise  was 

aplcs^oT  ^"  existence  by  "Hermes  Mercurius  Triplex"  on  the  six  prin- 
Things.  ciples  of  things  "*  with  a  prologue  concerning  the  three 
Mercuries,^  of  whom  we  have  already  heard  Robert  of 
Chester  speak  in  his  preface.  Here  too  the  first  is  identified 
with  Enoch,  the  second  with  Noah,  and  the  third  is  called 
triplex  because  he  was  at  once  king,  philosopher,  and 
prophet,  ruling  Egypt  after  the  flood  with  supreme  equity, 
renowned  in  both  the  liberal  and  mechanical  arts,  and  the 
first  to  elucidate  astronomy.  He  wrote  The  Golden  Bough, 
Book  of  Longitude  and  Latitude,  Book  of  Election,  Canons 
on  the  Planets,  and  a  treatise  on  the  astrolabe.  Among  his 
pastimes  he  brought  to  light  alchemy  which  the  philosopher 
Morienus  developed  in  his  writings.    The  Six  Principles  of 

*  Harleian  3731,  fols.   170V-172V,       it  follows  the  treatise  of  William 
"Incipiunt    sermones    hermetis    de       of    England. 

accidentibus.        Ordina      significa-  *  Digby  67,  end  of   12th  century 

tiones       fortiorem  .../...  erit  according  to   the  catalogue  but  I 

res  egritudo.     Explicit  sermo  her-  should  have  placed  it  in  the  next 

metis  de  accidentibus  rescriptus  ab  century,      fols.     69-78,      "Hermes 

Haly."  Mercurius    Triplex    de    vi    rerum 

*  Hermetis   philosophi   de   revo-  principiis  multisque  aliis  naturali- 
lutionibus    naiivitatum    libri    duo  bus;    partibus   quinque ;   cum   pro- 
incerto    interprete,    in    an    astro-  logo  de  tribus   Mercuriis." 
logical     collection    by    H.     Wolf,  Bodleian  464,   1318  A.  D.,  fols. 
Basel,    1559,  pp.   201-79.  I5i-i62r,      Hermetis      Trismegisti 

•Wolfenbiittel    2841,    anno    1432  opuscula   quaedam ;   primum   de   6 

fols.   380-2.     Liber   Hermetis  phi-  rerum   principiis,    is    almost   iden- 

losophi  de  iudiciis  urine  sine  visu  tical. 

eiusdem    urine    et    de    prognosti-  *  A    Liber    mercurii    trismegisti 

catione  in  egritudinibus  secundum  de  tribus  mercuriis  appears  in  the 

astronomiam.  15th  century  catalogue  of  the  MSS 

Vienna  5307,   15th  century,   fol.  of    St.    Augustine's    Abbey,    Can- 

150,  has  a  "Fragmentum.  de  iudicio  terbury. 
urinae"    ascribed  to    Hermes,   but 


Things  is  a  treatise  part  astronomical  and  part  astrological, 
considering  the  natures  of  the  signs  and  the  powers  of  the 
planets  in  their  houses.  Citations  of  such  authors  as  Zahel 
and  Dorotheus  show  that  the  work  is  much  later  than 
Hermes.  It  is  followed  by  four  other  brief  treatises,  of 
which  the  first  discusses  time,  the  winds,  pestilences,  divina- 
tion from  thunder,  and  eclipses  of  the  sun  and  the  moon; 
the  second  and  the  third  deal  with  the  astrological  topics, 
Of  the  triple  power  of  the  celestial  bodies,  and  Of  the 
efficacy  of  medicines  according  to  the  power  of  the  planets 
and  the  effect  of  the  signs.  The  fourth  treatise  tells  how  to 
use  the  astrolabe. 

Of  the  books  of  bad  necromantic  images  for  each  of  the  Liher 
seven  planets  by  Hermes,  which  the  Specidimv  astronomiae 
censured,  at  least  one  seems  to  have  been  preserved  for  our 
inspection  in  the  manuscripts,  since  it  has  the  same  Incipit 
as  that  cited  by  Albert,  "Probavi  omnes  libros  .  .  .  ,"  and 
the  same  title.  Liber  lune,^  or  Book  of  the  Moon,  or,  as  it  is 
more  fully  described,  of  the  twenty-eight  mansions  and 
twenty-eight  images  of  the  moon  and  the  fifty- four  angels 
who  serve  the  images.  And  as  Albert  spoke  of  a  treatise 
of  magic  illusions  which  accompanied  the  seven  books  of 
necromantic  images  for  the  planets,  so  this  Liber  liine  is 
itself  also  called  Mercury's  magic  illusion.^  It  probably  is 
the  same  Book  of  Images  of  the  Moon  which  William  of 
Auvergne  described  as  attempting  to  work  magic  by  the 

*  Corpus    Christi    125,    fols.   62-  Florence    II-iii-214,     15th    cen- 

68    ("Liber    lunae"    is    written    in  tury,  fol.  8-,  "Dixit  Hermes  huius 

the    upper    margin    of    fol.    62),  libri    editor,   lustravi    plures    ima- 

"Hic    incipit    liber    ymaginum    tr.  ginum";   fol.  9-,  "Hec  sunt  yma- 

ab   Hermete   id  est   Mercurio  qui  gines    septem   planetarum   et  cha- 

latine   prestigium   Mercurii   appel-  racteres  eorum" ;  fols.  9-15,  "liber 

latur,  Helyanin  in  lingua  Arabica  ymaginum    lune".  .  .  .  fols.   33-43, 

.../...  Explicit    liber   lune    de  "Liber     planetarum     inventus     in 

28  mansionibus  lune  translatus  ab  libris    Hermetis." 
Hermete."  *  The    Incipit,    however,    which 

Digby    228,    14th    century,    fols.  Albert    gave    for    Hermes'    Liber 

S4V-5SV,   incomplete.     Macray  de-  praestigiorum,  namely,   "Qui   geo- 

scrihes  it  as  "  'Liber  lune' ;  tracta-  metriae   aut    philosophiae   peritus, 

tus  de  28  mansionibus  et  28  ima-  expers   astronomiae   fuerit,"   iden- 

ginibus    lunae,    et    de    54    angelis  tifies   it   with   Thebit  ben  Corat's 

'qui  serviunt  ymaginibus.' "  work  on  images. 



on  images 
of  the 

names  of  God.  The  treatise  opens  in  the  usual  style  of 
apocryphal  literature  by  narrating  how  this  marvelous  vol- 
ume came  to  be  discovered.  After  some  "investigator  of 
wisdom  and  truth  and  friend  of  nature  had  read  the  volumes 
of  many  wise  men,"  he  found  this  one  in  a  golden  ark 
within  a  silver  chest  which  was  in  turn  placed  in  a  casket  of 
lead, — a  variant  on  Portia's  method.  He  then  translated  it 
into  Arabic  for  the  benefit  of  the  many.  Nevertheless  we 
have  the  usual  caution  to  fear  God  and  not  show  the  book 
to  anyone  nor  allow  any  polluted  man  to  touch  it,  since  with 
it  all  evils  as  well  as  all  goods  may  be  accomplished.  It 
tells  how  to  engrave  images  as  the  moon  passes  through 
each  of  its  twenty-eight  houses.  The  names  of  angels  have 
to  be  repeated  seven  times  and  suffumigations  performed 
seven  times  in  the  name  of  God  the  merciful  and  pious. 
Just  as  the  moon  is  nearer  to  us  than  other  planets  and  more 
efficacious,  so  this  book,  if  we  understand  it  aright,  is  more 
precious  than  any  other.  Hermes  declares  that  he  has  proved 
all  the  books  of  the  seven  planets  and  not  found  one  truer  or 
more  perfect  than  this  most  precious  portion.  Balenuch, 
however,  a  superior  and  most  skilful  philosopher,  does  much 
of  the  talking  for  his  master  Hermes.  The  Latin  text  re- 
tains the  Arabic  names  for  the  mansions  of  the  moon,  the 
fifty-four  angels  also  have  outlandish  names,  and  a  wood 
that  grows  in  an  island  in  India  is  required  in  the  suffumi- 
gations.  Instructions  are  given  for  engraving  images  which 
will  destroy  villa,  region,  or  town;  make  men  dumb;  re- 
strain sexual  intercourse  within  a  given  area;  heat  baths 
at  night;  congregate  ten  thousand  birds  and  bees;  or  twist 
a  man's  limbs.  Four  special  recipes  are  given  to  injure  an 
enemy  or  cause  him  to  sicken. 

We  shall  leave  until  our  chapter  on  the  Pseudo-Aristotle 
"The  book  of  the  spiritual  works  of  Aristotle,  or  the  book 
Antiniaqids,  which  is  the  book  of  the  secrets  of  Hermes 
...  the  ancient  book  of  the  seven  planets."  But  in  at 
least  one  manuscript  the  work  of  Hermes  on  the  images  of 
the    moon    is    accompanied    by    another    briefer    treatise 


ascribed  to  him  on  the  images  of  the  seven  planets,  one  for 
each  day  of  the  week,  to  be  made  in  the  first  hour  of  that 
day  which  is  ruled  by  the  planet  after  which  the  day  is 
named.  This  little  treatise  begins  with  the  words,  "Said 
Hermes,  editor  of  this  book,  I  have  examined  many  sciences 
of  images."  ^  Altogether  I  have  noted  traces  of  it  in  four 

In  two  of  these  manuscripts  the  work  of  Hermes  on  Book  of 
images  of  the  seven  planets  is  immediately  followed  by  a  ofToz 
work  of  Toe  or  Toz  Graecus  on  the  occult  virtues  of  stones 
called  the  Book  of  Venus  or  of  the  twelve  stones  of  Venus. ^ 
The  first  part  of  the  treatise,  however,  consists  of  instruc- 
tions, largely  astrological  in  character  but  also  including  use 
of  names  of  spirits  and  suffumigations,  for  casting  a  metal 
image  in  the  name  of  Venus.  Astrological  symbols  are  to 
be  placed  on  the  breast,  right  palm,  and  foot  of  the  image. 

In  the  discussion  of  stones  each  paragraph  opens  with 
the  words,  "Said  Toz."  The  use  of  these  stones  is  mainly 
medicinal,  however,  and  consists  usually  in  taking  a  certain 
weight  of  the  stone  in  question.  Of  astrology,  spirits,  and 
power  of  words  there  is  little  more  said.  Some  marvelous 
virtues  are  attributed  to  stones  nevertheless.  With  one,  if 
you  secretly  touch  two  persons  who  have  hitherto  been  firm 
friends,  you  will  make  them  enemies  "even  to  the  end  of 

*  See    Florence    II-iii-214,    fols.  3883,  fols.  g6r-gg,  "Liber  Toe;  et 

8-9,    already    listed    with    Incipits  vocatur  liber  veneni  {sic),  et  liber 

among  the  MSS  of  the  Liber  lune  de   lapidibus   veneris.     Dixit  Toe 

on   p.    223,  note    i    above.     Also  Graecus    observa    Venerem    cum 

Bodleian  463,   14th  century,  writ-  perveniret  ad  pliades  et  coniuncta 

ten    in     Spain,     fol.     77V,    "Dixit  fuerit."     In  the  text  and  Explicit, 

hermes  editor  huius  libri  lustranti  however,    the    author's    name    is 

plures  imaginum  ( ?)   scientias  in-  often  spelled  Toz.   This  MS  seems 

venit."      The    work    is    mutilated  to  be   directly  copied    from   Bod- 

at   the    end,    as    a    leaf   has   been  leian  463,  for  not  only  is  it  pre- 

torn  out  between  those  now  num-  ceded  by  the   Hermes  on  images 

bered  77  and  78.     See  also  Sloane  for  the  seven  planets  and  also  by 

3883,      17th     century,     fol.     95- ;  an    "Instructio    ptholomei"    which 

Arundel   342,   fol.   78v,   "Herraetis  deals   with   the   subject   of    astro- 

ut    fertur   liber   de   imaginibus    et  logical    images,    but    furthermore 

horis.  it     exactly     reproduces     its     text, 

'  Owing    to     the     missing    leaf  down  even  to  such  a  manuscript 

above    mentioned    only   the   latter  copyist's     pi     as     "ad     dumtanpo 

part  of  the  Liber  Toe  is  now  con-  itulia"  for  "alicui  ad  potandum." 
tained    in    Bodleian   463.      Sloane 



of  Toz 

the  world.  And  if  anyone  grates  from  it  the  weight  of  one 
argenteus  and  mixes  it  with  serpent's  blood  (possibly  the 
herb  of  that  name)  and  gives  it  to  anyone  to  drink,  he  will 
flee  from  place  to  place." 

Toz  Graecus  was  cited  by  more  than  one  medieval  writer 
and  the  work  which  we  have  just  been  describing  was  not 
the  only  one  that  then  circulated  under  his  name,  although 
it  seems  to  be  cited  by  Daniel  Morley  in  the  twelfth  century.^ 
Albertus  Magnus  in  his  list  of  evil  books  on  images  in  the 
Speculum  astronomiae  included  a  work  on  the  images  of 
Venus,^  another  on  the  four  mirrors  of  Venus,  and  a  third 
on  stations  for  the  cult  of  Venus.  This  last  is  also  alluded 
to  by  William  of  Auvergne,  bishop  of  Paris,  in  his  De 
universo,  and  ascribed  by  him  to  "Thot  grecus."  ^  There 
also  was  once  among  the  manuscripts  of  Amplonius  at 
Erfurt  a  "book  of  Toz  Grecus  containing  fifty  chapters  on 
the  stations  of  the  planets."  ^  Cecco  d'Ascoli,  the  early 
fourteenth  century  astrologer,  mentions  together  "Evax 
king  of  the  Arabs  and  Zot  grecus  and  Germa  of  Babylon." 
Which  reminds  one  of  Albert's  allusion  in  his  theological 
Summa  ^  to  "the  teachings  of  that  branch  of  necromancy" 
which  treats  of  "images  and  rings  and  mirrors  of  Venus 
and  seals  of  demons,"  and  is  expounded  in  the  works  of 
Achot  of  Greece — who  is  probably  our  Toz  Graecus,  Grema 
of  Babylon,  and  Hermes  the  Egyptian.     And  again  in  his 

^Arundel  2>77,  fol.  loov,  "Thoz 
Grecus  Liber  Veneris." 

'Spec,  astron.,  cap.  ii  (Borgnet, 
X,  641),  "Toz  Graeci,  de  sta- 
tionibus  ad  cultum  Veneris" 
opening  "Commemoratio  hiatori- 
arum" ;  "de  quatuor  speculis 
eiusdem"  opening  "Observa  Vene- 
rem  cum  pervenerit  ad  Pleiades" ; 
— this  is  the  Incipit  of  our  treatise 
in  Sloane  3883,  but  the  title  does 
not  seem  to  fit  very  well ;  perhaps 
Albert,  who  says  that  he  last 
looked  at  these  bad  books  long 
ago  and  then  with  abhorrence,  so 
that  he  is  not  sure  he  always 
has  the  titles  and   Incipits  exact, 

has  exchanged  the  Incipit  with 
that  of  the  third  treatise,  "de 
imaginibus  veneris,"  which  opens, 
"Observabis  Venerem  cum  intra- 
bit   Taurum." 

^ De  universo  II,  ii,  96  (p.  895, 
ed.  1591),  "Thot  grecus  in  libro 
quem  scripsit  de  cultu  veneris 
dixit  quandam  stationem  cultus 
illius  obtinere  ab  ipsa  venere 
colentes  septem  qui  illi  et  veneri 

*  Math.  8  in  the  catalogue  of 
1412  A.  D.,  Liber  Toz  Greci  conti- 
nens  50  capitula  de  stacionibus 

'  II,  30. 


work  on  minerals  ^  Albert  lists  together  as  authorities  on 
the  engraving  of  gems  with  images  the  names  of  Magor 
Graecus,  Germa  of  Babylon,  and  Hermes  the  Egyptian. 

Moreover,  not  only  is  the  work  of  Toz  closely  associated    Tozthe 
both  in  the  extant  manuscripts  and  by  Albertus  Magnus    Tj^Jt^or 
with  that  of  Hermes,  but  William  of  Auvergne's  spelling    Hermes 
"Thot"  shows  what  has  perhaps  already  occurred  to  the   gistus. 
reader,  that  this  Toe  or  Toz  Graecus  is  no  other  than  the 
Greek  equivalent   of   the    Egyptian   god   Thoth;    in   other 
words,  Hermes  Trismegistus  himself.     I  have  not  yet  men- 
tioned one  Other  treatise   found  in  a  seventeenth  century 
manuscript,  and  which,  while  very  likely  a  later  invention, 
shows  at  least  that  Toz  remained  a  name  to  conjure  with 
down  into  modern  times.-     The  work  is  called  A  commen- 
tary by  To::  Graecus,  philosopher  of  great  name,  upon  the 
books    of   Solomon    to    Rehoboam    concerning   secrets    of 
secrets.     A  long  preface  tells  how  Solomon  summed  up  all 
his  vast  knowledge  in  this  book  for  the  benefit  of  his  son 
Rehoboam,  and  Rehoboam  buried  it  in  his  tomb  in  an  ivory 
casket,  and  Toz  after  its  discovery  wept  at  his  inability  to 
comprehend   it,   until  it  was  revealed  to  him  through  an 
angel  of  God  on  condition  that  he  explain  it  only  to  the 

The  text  is  full  of  magic  experiments :  experiments  of  Magic 
theft:  experiments  in  invisibility;  love  experiment's;  experi-  ^enl:"' 
ments  in  gaining  favor;  experiments  in  hate  and  destruc- 
tion; "extraordinary  experiments";  "playful  experiments"; 
and  so  on.  These  with  conjurations,  characters,  and 
suffumigations  make  up  the  bulk  of  the  first  book.  The 
second  book  deals  chiefly  with  "how  exorcists  and  their  allies 
and  disciples  should  conduct  themselves,"  and  with  the 
varied  paraphernalia  required  by  magicians :  fasts,  baths, 
vestments,  the  knife  or  sword,  the  magic  circle,  fumiga- 
tions, water  and  hyssop;  light  and  fire,  pen  and  ink,  blood, 
parchment,     stylus,    wax,    needle,    membrane,    characters, 

'  II,  iii,  3.  expositio  super  libros  salomonis  de 

'  BN     15127,     fols.     i-ioo,     Toz      secretis  secretorum  ad  Roboam. 
Graeci     philosophi     nominatissimi 

228        MAGIC  AND  EXPERIMENTAL  SCIENCE    chap,  xlv 

sacrifices,  and  astrological  images.  Two  of  its  twenty-two 
chapters  deal  with  "the  places  where  by  rights  experiments 
should  be  performed"  and  with  "all  the  precepts  of  the  arts 
or  experiments."  In  another  seventeenth  century  manu- 
script are  Seven  Books  of  Magical  Experiments  of  Hermes 
Trismegistus.  "And  they  are  magic  secrets  of  the  kings  of 
Egypt,"  drawn,  we  are  told,  from  the  treasury  of  Rudolph 
II,  Holy  Roman  emperor  from  1576  to  1612}  Another 
manuscript  at  Vienna  contains  a  German  translation  of 
the  same  work.^ 

^Wolfenbiittel    3338,    17th    Gentury,  43   fols. 
'Vienna  11267,  i7-i8th  century,  fols.   2-31. 



Question  of  the  origin  of  the  work — Its  prefaces — Arrangement  of 
the  text — Virtues  of  a  tree — Feats  of  magic — An  incantation  to  an 
eagle — Alchiranus — Treatises  on  seven,  twelve,  and  nineteen  herbs — 

The  virtues,  especially  medicinal,  of  plants  and  animals  Question 
comprise  the  contents  of  a  work  in  Latin  of  uncertain  date  origin  of 
and  authorship,  usually  called  the  Kiranides  of  Kiranus,  the  work. 
King  of  Persia.^  Thomas  Browne,  in  his  Pseudodoxia  Epi- 
demica  or  Inquiry  into  Vulgar  Errors,  included  in  his  list 
of  "authors  who  have  most  promoted  popular  conceits, 
...  Kiranides,  which  is  a  collection  out  of  Harpocration 
the  Greek  and  sundry  Arabick  writers  delivering  not  only 
the  Naturall  but  Magicall  propriety  of  things,  a  work  as 
full  of  vanity  as  variety,  containing  many  relations,  whose 
invention  is  as  difficult  as  their  beliefs,  and  their  experi- 
ments sometime  as  hard  as  either."  ^  The  work  purports 
to  be  a  translation  from  the  Greek  version  which  in  its 
turn  was  from  the  Arabic,^  and  Berthelot  affirms  *  that  in 
antiquity  Kiranides  was  cited  by  Galen  and  by  Olympio- 
dorus,  the  historian  and  alchemist  of  the  early  fifth  century, 

*  I  know  of  no  very  early  print-  dis    Kyrani,   regis   Persarum.      I 

ed  editions,  but  have  consulted  a  have    not    seen    P.    Tannery,   Les 

copy  published  at  Leipzig  in  1638,  Cyranides,     in     Congres     interna- 

and  two  MSS,  Ashmole  1471,  late  tional      d'histoire      des     sciences, 

14th  century,  fols.   I43v-i67r,  and  Geneva,  1904. 

Arundel  342,   14th  century,  in  an  '  I,  8. 

Italian   hand.     The  work   is  also  '  See     Black's      description     of 

contained  either  in  toto   or  brief  Ashmole     1471,     "Translator     qui 

excerpt    in    several    Sloane    MSS,  libros      tres      operis      huius  .  .  . 

and    was    printed    in    English    in  e    Gracca    versione    (ex    Arabico 

1685   as   The  Magick   of  Kiranus.  textu  annot377  facta)  .  .  .  Latinos 

See  also  Wolfenbiittel    1014,   iSth  fecit." 

century,  fol.  102,  De  libro  Kyrani-  *  Berthelot   (1885)   p.  47. 



while  KroU  cites  a  Greek  manuscript  at  Paris  as  ascribing 
Its  the    third   book   of    Kiranides  to   Hermes   Trismegistus.-^ 

prefaces.  q-j^g  preface  of  the  medieval  Latin  translator  is  by  "a 

lowly  cleric"  who  addresses  some  ecclesiastical  or  scholastic 
superior,  possibly  the  Chancellor  at  Paris. ^  He  marvels 
that  the  mind  of  his  patron,  which  has  penetrated  beyond 
the  seven  heavens  to  contemplate  supernatural  things  above 
our  sphere,  should  nevertheless  not  disdain  an  interest  in 
the  most  lowly  of  terrene  "experiments."  The  master  has 
asked  him  to  translate  this  medical  book  from  Greek  into 
Latin,  a  task  easier  to  ask  than  to  execute.  There  are  sev- 
eral Greek  versions  of  it,  all  professedly  translations  from 
some  oriental  original,  but  the  volume  which  his  patron 
gave  him  to  translate  into  Latin  is  that  translated  into  Greek 
at  Constantinople  in  ii68^  or  1169^  by  order  of  the 
Byzantine  emperor,  Manuel  Comnenus,  whom  we  shall  also 
find  associated  with  the  Letter  of  Prester  John  of  which  we 
shall  treat  in  the  next  chapter.  The  translator  speaks 
of  the  work  as  The  Book  of  Natural  Virtues,  Com- 
plaints, and  Cures,  but  adds  that  it  is  a  compilation  from 
two  other  books,  namely,  The  Experience  of  the  Kiranides 
of  Kiranus,  King  of  Persia,  and  The  Book  of  Harpocra- 
tion  ^  of  Alexandria  to  his  Daughter.  There  then  follows 
the  preface  of  Harpocration  to  his  daughter,  which  tells  of 
a  certain  city  and  of  encountering  an  aged  sage  there,  of 
great  towers  and  of  precious  writing  on  a  column  which 
Harpocration  proceeds  to  transcribe.     We  are  given  to  un- 

^  Article    Hermes    Trismegistus  also  tends   to  preclude.     Possibly 

in  PW  798.  the  translator  may  be  Philip,  the 

*Ashmole   1471,   fols.   I43v-i67r,  cleric   of   Tripoli,   who   speaks   of 

"Incipit  liber  Kirannidarum  in  quo  himself     in     a     similarly     humble 

premittitur  tale  prohemium.     Pru-  style,  and  of  whom  we  shall  speak 

dentissimo    domino    Magistro    Ka.  in  the  next  two  chapters. 

Parissen.     infimus     clericus     salu-  '  According  to  the  printed  tgxt 

tern."     The  translator's  address  to  of  1638. 

his    patron    sounds    a    little    like  *Ashmole    1471,    "anno    Christi 

Hugh  of  Santalla,  but  a  date  after  1280  aliter  1169." 

1 168  is  rather  late  either  for  Hugh  "Harpocration       is       cited       by 

or  the  anonymous   Sicilian  trans-  Galen:    see    Kiihn    XH,    629,    "ad 

lator  of  the  Almapest,  whom  the  aures    purulentas    Harpocration." 
association  in  this  case  with  Paris 

xLVi  KI  RAN  IDES  231 

derstand  that  the  original  was  written  in  "antique  archaic 
Syriac"  and  was  as  old  as  the  Euphrates. 

The  text  is  divided  into  four  books,  each  arranged  alpha-  Arrange- 
betically.  The  first  book  subdivides  into  "Elements."  For  [hefext 
example,  Elementimi  XII  is  devoted  to  a  tree,  a  bird,  a  stone, 
and  a  fish,  each  of  which  begins  with  the  letter  M.  Most, 
however,  of  the  virtues  and  medicinal  prescriptions  which 
follow  have  to  do  with  the  tree  or  herb  only.  The  second 
book  treats  of  beasts  or  quadrupeds,  the  third  of  birds,  and 
the  fourth  of  fish. 

Much  superstition  and  magical  procedure  is  found  scat-   Virtues 

of  ^  tree 

tered  through,  or  better,  crowded  into,  the  book.  For  in- 
stance, in  a  medicinal  application  of  the  cyme  of  the  tree 
Mop€a,  one  is  to  face  the  southwest  wind,  use  two  fingers 
of  the  left  hand  to  remove  the  cyme,  then  look  behind  one 
toward  the  east,  wrap  the  cyme  in  purple  or  red  silk  {vera?), 
and  touch  the  patient  with  it  or  bind  it  about  her.  In  an- 
other recipe  the  fruit  of  this  tree  is  to  be  compounded  in 
varying  proportions  with  such  substances  as  an  Indian  stone 
and  the  tips  of  the  wings  of  crows  and  is  then  to  be  stirred 
with  a  crow's  feather  until  the  mixture  is  "soft  and  sticky." 
In  a  third  prescription  a  stone  engraved  with  an  image  of 
the  fish  mentioned  under  the  letter  M — /lop/iupos,  and  en- 
closed in  an  iron  box,  is  to  be  combined  with  the  "eyes" 
(buds?)  of  the  tree  Morea  as  an  amulet  against  certain 

In  some  cases  the  end  sought  as  well  as  the  procedure  Feats  of 
employed  is  magical  rather  than  medicinal.  In  another  i"agic. 
chapter  of  the  first  book,  for  example,  the  reader  is  in- 
structed how  to  make  a  licinium  or  combustible  compound  in 
whose  light  those  present  will  appear  to  one  another  like 
flaming  demons.  Or  in  book  two  the  reader  is  told  that 
wearing  the  dried  tongue  of  a  weasel  inside  his  socks  will 
close  the  mouths  of  his  enemies.  The  weasel's  testicles, 
right  and  left,  are  used  as  charms  to  stimulate  and  prevent 
conception  respectivelv. 



An  incan- 
tation to 
an  eagle. 


Incantations  are  employed  in  connection  with  the  eagle, 
the  first  of  forty-four  birds  taken  up  in  the  third  book. 
Catch  one,  collect  the  dung  it  makes  during  the  first  day  and 
night  of  its  captivity,  then  bind  its  feet  and  beak  and  whis- 
per in  its  ear,  "Oh,  eagle,  friend  of  man,  I  am  about  to  slay 
you  for  the  cure  of  every  infirmity.  I  conjure  you  by  the 
God  of  earth  and  sky  and  by  the  four  elements  that  you 
efficaciously  work  each  and  every  cure  for  which  you  are 
oblated."  The  eagle  is  then  decapitated  with  a  sword  com- 
posed entirely  of  iron,  all  its  blood  is  carefully  caught  in  a 
bowl,  its  heart  and  entrails  are  removed  and  placed  in  wine, 
and  other  directions  observed.  The  discussion  of  the  virtues 
of  fish  in  the  fourth  and  last  book  is  essentially  identical  in 
character  with  the  examples  already  given  for  plants,  birds, 
and  beasts. 

In  a  sixteenth  century  manuscript  at  Venice  ^  is  a  Latin 
version  which  would  seem  to  be  translated  from  the  Arabic 
since  it  gives  the  author's  name  as  Alchiranus,  although 
some  scholiast  has  interpolated  and  added  to  the  words  of 
this  author  and  of  Harpocration.  As  described  by  Valen- 
tinelli  the  arrangement  into  books  is  the  same  as  that  which 
we  have  noted.  Valentinelli  also  was  impressed  by  the  fact 
that  "medical  substances  are  used  to  produce  not  merely 
physical  but  moral  effects,  such  as  prescience  of  the 
future,  dispelling  demons  and  evil  phantoms,  avoiding  ship- 
wreck by  binding  the  heart  of  a  foca  to  the  mast  of  the 
vessel;  discovering  what  sort  of  life  a  woman  has  led,  be- 
coming invisible,  averting  storms,  perils,  wild  beasts,  rob- 
bers." And  further  that  "the  efficacy  of  the  medicaments 
is  dependent  upon  their  mode  of  preparation  or  application, 
at  the  rising  or  setting  of  the  sun,  at  the  waning  or  waxing 
of    the    moon,    by    uttering    certain    words    or    engraving 

stones.    ^ 

*S.  Marco  XIV,  2,7,  fols.  i_i-73 
Alchirani,  liber  de  proprietatibus 
rerum.  Liber  physicalium  vir- 
tutiim,  compassionum  et  curatio- 
num,  collectus  ex  libris  duobus. 

'  Bibliotheca  Manuscripta  ad  S. 

Marci  Venetiarum,  Codices  MSS 
Lat'mi,  V  (1872)  109-10.... 
"medicamina  proponuntur  ad  ef- 
fectus  non  tantum  physicos  sed  et 
morales  progignendos.  Eiusmodi 
sunt    ad    praescienda    futurorum; 




The  Latin  translator  of  the  Kiranides  sa3'S  that  it  should   Treatises 

be  preceded  by  the  book  of  Alexander  the  Great  concerning   °^eWe^"' 

seven  herbs  and  the  seven  planets,  and  by  the  Mystery  of    and  nine- 

Thessalus  to  Hermes  about  twelve  herbs   for  the  twelve   herbs. 

signs  of  the  zodiac  and  seven  herbs  for  the  seven  stars.   And 

in  what  is  left  of  the  preface  to  the  latter  treatise  in  an 

Erfurt  manuscript  we  are  told  that  after  discovering  the 

volumes  of  the  Kyranides  the  writer  found  also  in  the  city 

of  Troy  the  present  treatise  enclosed  in  a  monument  along 

with  the  bones  of  the  first  king  named  Kyrannis.^    The  first 

treatise  on  seven  herbs,  however,  seems  to  be  more  often 

ascribed   in  the  manuscripts  to  an  Alexius  Affricus  ^   or 

Flaccus  Africanus  ^  than  to  Alexander  the  Great,*    Alexius 

ad  fugandos  daemones  et  phantas- 
mata  mala ;  ad  nauf ragium  evitan- 
dum,  dummodo  cor  focae  in  ar- 
bore  navis  ligetur ;  ad  sciendum 
quid  mulier  egerit  in  vita  sua ;  ad 
corpus  invisibile  reddendum;  ad 
avertendum  tempestates,  pericula, 
feras,  latrones.  Medicaminum 
autem  efficacitas  pendet  ab  eorum 
confectione  vel  applicatione,  in 
ortu  vel  occasu  solis,  sub  aug- 
mento  aut  diminutione  lunae, 
verbis  quibusdam  prolatis  vel 
lapidibiis  insculptis." 

*Amplon.  Quarto  217,  No.  5, 
"Post  antiquarum  kyrannidarum 
volumina  .  .  .  invent  in  civitate 
troiana  in  monumento  reclusum 
presentem  libellum  cum  ossibus 
primi  regis  kyrannis  qui  compen- 
dium aureum  intitulatur  eo  quod 
per  discussionem  (or  distinc- 
tionem?)  factam  a  maiorum 
kyrannidarum  volumine  diligenter 
compilatum  et  studio  vehementi 
tractat  de  vii  herbis  vii  planetis 
attributis  secundum  illas  impres- 
siones."  See  also  Vienna  5289, 
15th  century,  fol.  21,  "Tractatus 
de  septem  herbis  et  septem  plane- 
tis qui  dicitur  inventus  in  ciuitate 
Trojana  in  monumento  primi 
Regis  Kyrani"  sive  "aureum 

*Ashmole  1450,  i5th  century, 
fol.  31V,  "Incipit  quidam  trac- 
tatus de  vii  herbis  vii  planetis  at- 
tributis.     Alexius    Affricus,    dis- 

cipulus  Belbeis,  Claudio  Arthe- 
niensi  epylogiticis  studium  con- 
tinuare  et  finem  cum  laude.  Post 
etiam  antiquorum  Kirannidarum 
volumina";  only  the  first  page  of 
the  treatise  now  remains  in  this  MS. 

All  Souls  81,  i5-i6th  century, 
fols.  i33y-45,  "De  virtutibus  et 
operationibus  septem  herbarum 
secretarum  per  ordinem,  et  quo- 
modo  per  eas  fiunt  mirabilia" ;  the 
treatise,  however,  here  appears  in 
English  and  by  "Alaxus  Affrike, 
disciple  of  Robert  Claddere  of  the 
worthye   studie." 

CLM  405,  14- 1 5th  century,  fol. 
98,  Fracii  Africii  liber  de  vii  her- 
bis vii  planetis  attributis. 

•Amplon.  Q.  217,  14th  century, 
fols.  51-54,  Incipit  tractatus  de  vii 
herbis  vii  planetis  attributis  Flacti 
Africani  discipuli  Belbenis.  .  .  . 
Glandegrio  Atthoniensi  epylogitico 

Sloane  1754,  14th  century,  fols. 
45-57,  "Flacius  Affricus  discipulus 
Bellenis  Glandigero  Atthonensi 

Sloane  75,  15th  century,  fols. 
131-2,  "Inquit  Flaccus  Affricanus 
discipulus  Beleni  septem  sunt 

See  also  Sloane  73,  fols.  4-7; 
Sloane  3092,  14th  century,  fols.  2-6. 

Berlin  900  (Latin  Octavo  42), 
anno  1510,  Compendium  aureum 
des    Flaccius    Africanus. 

"  Ashmole    1448,     15th    century. 


or  Flaccus  seems  to  address  his  work  to  a  Claudius  or  Glan- 
diger  of  Athens.  The  work  of  Thessalus,  whose  name  is 
sometimes  corrupted  to  Tesalus  or  Texilus,  and  whose  work 
is  variously  styled  of  twelve  or  of  nineteen  herbs,  usually 
is  found  with  the  other  treatise  in  the  manuscripts.^  It  was 
one  of  the  authorities  acknowledged  by  Jacobus  de  Dondis 
in  his  Aggregatio  Medicament oriim,  written  in  I355-^  The 
treatise  on  seven  herbs  of  Alexander  or  Flaccus  Africanus 
closes  with  the  direction  that  the  herbs  should  be  gathered 
from  the  twenty-first  to  twenty-seventh  day  of  the  moon, 
with  Mercury  rising  during  the  entire  first  hour  of  the  day. 
As  they  are  plucked,  the  passion  of  our  Lord  should  be 
mentioned,  and  they  should  be  preserved  in  barley  or  wheat. 
But  one  manuscript  adds,  "But  do  not  put  credulity  in  them 
beyond  due  measure."  ^  We  have,  of  course,  already  met 
with  similar  treatises  ascribed  to  Enoch  and  Hermes.^ 
Belenus.  The   Belenus,   as  whose   disciple   Flaccus   Africanus   is 

represented,  is  also  the  reputed  author  of  a  work  on  astro- 
logical images  found  in  several  manuscripts  of  the  British 
Museum.^  Albertus  Magnus  in  the  Speculum  astronomiae 
attributed  to  Belenus  two  reprehensible  books  of  necro- 
mantic images.^  The  Tiirba  philosophorum,  a  medieval 
work  of  alchemy  consisting  in  large  measure  of  Latin  re- 
pp. 44-45,  "Virtutes  septem  her-  MSS  listed  in  the  preceding  notes 
barum  et  septem  planetarum  se-  contain  the  Thessalus  also, 
cundum     Alexandrum     imperato-  '  "Tesalus  in  secretis  de  xii  her- 

rem."  bis  per  signa  celi  et  de  vii  secun- 

Vienna  3124,    15th  century,   fol.      dum  planetas." 
49,    Alexander    is    given    as    the  '  Digby    147,    14th    century,    fol. 

author  in  the  catalogue,  but  I  do       106. 

not  know  if  the  name  actually  ap-  *  See  above  chapters  13,  45. 

pears   in  the   MS.  'Royal    12-C-XVIII,    14th    cen- 

*  Berlin  Folio  573,  fol.  22,  Liber      tury   (?),  Baleni  de  imaginibus. 
Thesali  philosofi  de  virtutibus   19  Sloane  3826,   17th  century,  fols. 

herbarum.  loov-ioi.  Liber  Balamini  sapientis 

Amplon.  Quarto  217,  $5.  de  sigillis  planetarum. 

Montpellier    277,    15th    century.  Sloane  3848,   17th  century,  fols. 

Vienna  3124,  15th  century,  fols.  s?-8,  59-62.  liber  sapientis  Balemyn 
49-53.  Texili,  "Liber  secretorum  de  ymaginibus  septem  planetarum. 
de    virtutibus     12    herbarum     se-  'Opera    ed.     Borgnet,    X,    64!, 

cundum    influentiam  quam   recipi-       "Belenus,  liber  de  horarum  opere, 
unt  a  12  celestibus  signis."  'Dixit     Belenus     qui     et     Apollo 

Judging  by  their  varying  length,  dicitur,  imago  .  .  . ;'  liber  de 
I  should  imagine  that  some  of  the      quati^or  imaginibus  ab  aliis  sepa- 


translation  of  Arabic  versions  from  Greek  alchemists,  also 
cites  a  Belus  or  Belinus.  The  name  is  believed  to  be  a 
corruption  from  Apollonius  of  Tyana,  v^^ith  whom  Apol- 
lonius  of  Perga,  the  mathematician,  is  perhaps  also  con- 
fused.^ One  of  the  Incipits  of  the  tracts  listed  in  the 
Speculum  astronomiae  is,  "Said  Belenus  who  is  also  called 
Apollo,"  However,  many  medieval  Latin  manuscripts  at- 
tribute works  to  Apollonius  under  that  name,  as  in  the  case 
of  a  work  on  the  Notory  Art  which  we  shall  mention  in  an- 
other chapter. - 

ratis,      'Differentia    in    qua    fiunt  ^  See     below,     chapter     49,     pp. 

imagines    magnae.  .  .  .' "  281-3. 

'Berthelot  (1893)  I,  257-8. 



Medieval  notions  of  the  marvels  of  India — India's  real  contribution 
to  knovi'ledge — The  legend  of  Prester  John — Miracles  of  the  Apostle 
Thomas — Otto  of  Freising  en  Prester  John — Prester  John's  letter  to 
the  Emperor  Manuel — Marvels  recounted  by  Prester  John — Additional 
marvels  in  later  versions — The  letter  of  Pope  Alexander  III — Philip, 
the  papal  physician. 

Medieval  In  a  twelfth  century  manuscript  at  Berlin  a  treatise  on  pre- 
the  mar°  cious  stones  and  their  medicinal  and  other  marvelous  virtues 
velsof  which  is  ascribed  to  St.  Jerome/  opens  with  a  prologue  de- 
scribing a  voyage  to  India,  the  home  of  the  carbuncle, 
emerald,  and  other  gems,  and  the  land  of  mountains  of  gold 
guarded  by  dragons,  griffins,  and  other  monsters.  According 
to  this  prologue  the  navigation  of  the  Red  Sea  is  extremely 
dangerous  and  takes  six  months,  while  another  full  year  is 
required  to  cross  the  ocean  to  India  and  the  Ganges. 

India  was  still  a  distant  land  of  wonders  and  home  of 
magic  to  the  minds  of  medieval  men,  as  it  had  been  in  the 
Life  of  Apolloniiis  of  Tyana,  and  as  even  to-day  many 
westerners  are  credulous  concerning  its  jugglers,  fakirs, 
yogis,  and  theosophists.  So  William  of  Auvergne,  bishop 
of  Paris,  writing  in  the  first  half  of  the  thirteenth  century, 
states  that  feats  of  magic  are  very  seldom  wrought  in  the 
Europe  of  his  time.  For  one  thing,  as  Origen  and  other 
early  church  fathers  had  already  explained,  the  demons 
since  the  coming  of  Christ  to  earth  had  largely  ceased  their 
magical  activities  in  Christian  lands.  But  another  reason 
was  that  the  materials  for  working  natural  magic,  the  gems 
and  herbs  and  animals  with  marvelous  virtues,  were  seldom 
found  in  European  lands.     In  India  and  other  countries 

*  Berlin  956,   12th  century,  fols.  24-25. 


adjacent  to  it,  on  the  contrary,  such  materials  were  abun- 
dant. Hence  natural  magic  still  flourished  there  and  it 
was  a  land  of  many  experimenters  and  of  skilful  marvel- 
workers.^  Similarly  Albertus  Magnus,  discussing  the  mar- 
velous powers  of  astrological  images,  states  that  the  best 
gems  upon  which  to  engrave  them  are  those  from  India.^ 
Costa  ben  Luca  says  in  his  work  on  physical  ligatures  that 
doctors  in  India  are  firm  believers  in  the  efficacy  of  incanta- 
tions and  adjurations;  and  about  1295  Peter  of  Abano 
speaks  in  his  Phisionomia  of  the  wise  men  of  India  as  prolix 
on  astrological  themes.  Medieval  geomancies,  too,  often 
claim  a  connection  with  India.  ^ 

It  should  also  be  kept  in  mind,  however,  that  medieval    India's 
men  believed  that  they  derived  from  India  learning  which   [r^u'tTon 
seems  to  us  even  to-day  as  sound  and  useful  as  it  did  to  them    toknowl- 
then ;  for  example,  the  Hindu-Arabic  numerals.^     Leonardo 
of  Pisa,  the  great  arithmetician  of  the  early  thirteenth  cen- 
tury, tells  us  in  the  preface  to  his  Liher  Abaci^  how,  sum- 
moned as  a  boy  to  join  his  father  who  was  a  customs  offi- 
cial at  a  trading  station  in  Algeria,  he  was  introduced  to 

^  Gulielmi   Alverni   .   .   .    Opera  Reckoning,   Concord,   1914;   L.  C. 

Omnia,  1591,  p.  1003,  De  universo,  Karpinski,  "Two  Twelfth  Century 

II,  iii,  23.  Algorisms,"  Isis,   III    (1921)    396- 

'^  Mineral.  II,  iii,  4.  413.     For   "newly  discovered   evi- 

*  One  condemned  at  Paris  in  dence  showing  that  the  Hindu  nu- 
1277  began,  "The  Indians  have  merals  were  known  to  and  justly 
believed  .  .  ."  ;  two  in  a  Harleian  appreciated  by  the  Syrian  writer 
]\1S  2404  are  called  Indeana;  a  Sevcrus  Sebokht,  who  lived  in 
third,  part  Latin  and  part  French,  the  second  half  of  the  seventh 
in  Sloane  MS  314  of  the  isth  century,"  see  F.  Nau  in  Journal 
century,  opens,  "This  is  the  asiatique,  1910,  and  J.  Ginsburg, 
Indyana  of  Gremmgus  which  is  "New  Light  on  our  Numerals,"  in 
called  the  daughter  of  astronomy  the  Bulletin  of  the  American 
and  which  one  of  the  sages  of  Mathematical  Society,  XXIII 
India  wrote."  See  also  CU  (1917)  366-9.  On  the  question  of 
Magdalene  27  (F.  4,27,  Haenel  the  debt  of  Arabic  algebra  to 
23),  late  14th  century,  fols.  72-  India,  especially  in  the  case  of 
88,  "Hec  est  geomentia  Indiana  IVIuhammad.  b.  Musa  al-Hwaraz- 
que  vocatur  filia  Ast  .  .  .  quam  mi,  who  was  also  an  astrologer, 
fecit  unius  {sic)  sapientum  In-  see  J.  Ruska  Zur  alt  est  en  ara- 
die.    .    .    ."  bischen  Algebra  und  Rechenkunst, 

*  See  D.  E.  Smith  and  L.  C.  in  Sitzb.  d.  Heidelberger  Akad- 
Karpinski,  The  Hindu-Arabic  Nu-  cmie  d.  IViss.  Philos.  hist.  Klasse, 
merals,     Boston,     191 1;      S.     R-  1917. 

Benedict,    A    Comparative    Study  '  Scritti     di     Leonardo     Pisano, 

of   the  Early    Treatises  introduc-       vol.  I,  1857. 
ing  into  Europe  the  Hindu  Art  of 




legend  of 

of  the 

the  art  of  reckoning  "by  a  marvelous  method  through  the 
nine  figures  of  the  Indians."  Thus  we  see  that  India's 
marvels  were  not  always  false.  Later  he  traveled  in  Egypt, 
Syria,  Greece,  Sicily,  and  Provence  and  studied  their  vari- 
ous methods  of  reckoning,  but  vastly  preferred  the  Indian 
method  to  all  others,  returned  to  a  more  intensive  study  of 
it,  and  developed  it  further  by  additions  from  Euclid  and 
contributions  of  his  own.  Not  always,  it  is  true,  were 
medieval  mathematicians  as  favorable  to  Indian  methods  as 
this.  Jordanus  Nemorarius  in  one  passage  characterizes 
an  Indian  theorem  as  "nothing  but  mere  credulity  without 
demonstration."  ^  But  to  return  to  the  natural  marvels  of 

In  the  extraordinary  accounts  of  Prester  John,-  which 
are  first  met  in  the  twelfth  century  and  were  added  to  with 
succeeding  centuries  and  which  had  great  currency  from 
the  start,  as  the  number  of  extant  manuscripts  shows,  the 
natural  marvels  of  India  vie  in  impressiveness  and  wonder- 
ment with  the  power  of  Prester  John  himself  and  with  the 
miracles  of  the  Apostle  Thomas. 

Odo,  Abbot  of  St.  Remy  from  1118  to  1151,  states  in  a 
letter  in  response  to  the  inquiry  of  a  Count  Thomas  what 
had  happened  when  he  was  recently  in  Rome.  Byzantine 
ambassadors  introduced  to  the  pope  an  archbishop  of 
India  who  had  already  had  the  extraordinary  and  discon- 
certing experience  of  having  to  return  a  third  time  to  Con- 
stantinople for  a  new  prince  for  his  country,  each  previous 
Byzantine  nominee  having  died  on  his  hands.  This  arch- 
bishop said  that  the  body  of  the  Apostle  Thomas  was  pre- 
served in  his  country  in  a  church  rich  in  treasure  and  orna- 
ments and  surrounded  by  a  river  fordable  only  at  the  time 

^Jordani  Nemorarii  Geornejria 
vel  De  triangulis  libri  IV,  ed.  M. 
Curtze,  Thorn,   1887,  pp.  43-44. 

'  A  good  brief  summary  of  the 
results  of  d'Avezac,  Zarncke,  and 
others  will  be  found  in  Sir  Henry 
Yule's  article  on  "Prester  John," 
EB.     For  the  various  texts  to  be 

here  considered,  with  later  inter- 
polations and  additions  distin- 
guished, see  Friedrich  Zarncke, 
Der  Priest er  Johannes,  in  Ab- 
handl.  d.  Kgl.  Sachs.  Gesells.  d. 
Wiss.  VII  (1879),  627-1030;  VIII 
(1883)    1-186. 


of  the  saint's  festival.  On  that  solemn  occasion  the 
Apostle's  body  was  shown  to  believers  and  the  Apostle  would 
raise  his  arm  and  open  his  hand  to  receive  their  gifts,  but 
close  it  and  refuse  to  receive  any  gift  offered  by  a  heretic. 
When  this  tale  reached  the  pope's  ears  he  forbade  the  arch- 
bishop to  disseminate  such  falsehoods  further  under  pain 
of  anathema,  but  the  archbishop  finally  convinced  the  pope 
by  taking  an  oath  on  the  holy  gospels. 

Another  longer  and  anonymous  account  has  come  down 
from  manuscripts  going  back  to  the  twelfth  century  of  the 
visit  of  a  Patriarch  John  of  India  to  Rome  under  Pope 
Calixtus  II  (1119-1124),  It  is  this  account  which  is  often 
joined  in  the  manuscripts  and  early  printed  editions  with 
the  Letter  of  Prester  John  of  which  we  shall  presently 
speak.  In  this  account  the  Patriarch  John  told  "of  memo- 
rable matters  of  his  Indian  region  that  were  unknown  to 
the  Romans,"  such  as  of  the  gold  and  gems  in  the  river 
Physon  which  flows  from  Paradise,  "but  especially  of  the 
miracles  of  the  most  holy  Apostle  Thomas."  Without 
going  into  further  details,  such  as  that  of  the  miraculous 
balsam  lamp,  which  differ  a  good  deal  from  Odo's  account, 
it  may  be  noted  that  in  this  account  the  Apostle's  hand 
ministers  the  Eucharist  to  believers  and  refuses  it  to  infidels 
and  sinners. 

We  have  progressed  from  an  archbishop  of  India  to  a    Otto  of 
Patriarch  John ;  we  now  come  to  Prester  John  the  monarch.    on^pr'"s^er 
The  historian,  Otto  of  Freising,  learned  in   1145   from  a  John,  the 
Syrian  bishop  at  Rome  of  a  great  victory  recently  gained    of  the 
over  the  Moslems  by  "a  certain  John  who  lived  beyond   Magi. 
Persia  and  Armenia  in  the  extreme  East,  a  king  and  priest, 
since  he   was  a   Christian   by   race  but   a   Nestorian  .  .  . 
Prester  John,  for  so  they  are  wont  to  call  him."     He  was 
of  the  ancient  progeny  of  the  Magi  mentioned  in  the  Gospel, 
ruled  the  same  races  as  they,  and  enjoyed  such  glory  and 
abundance  that  he  was  said  to  use  only  an  emerald  scepter. 
After  his  victory  he  would  have  come  to  the  aid  of  the 
crusaders  at  Jerusalem,  but  could  not  cross  the  Tigris,  al- 



John's  let- 
ter to  the 

though  he  marched  north  along  its  eastern  bank  and  waited 
for  some  years  in  the  hope  that  it  would  freeze  over.* 

This  Prester  John  was  to  be  heard  from  again,  however, 
for  in  the  same  century  there  appeared  a  letter  purporting 
to  have  been  written  by  him  to  the  Byzantine  Emperor, 
Manuel  (1143-1180).^  It  is  in  this  letter  that  the  natural 
and  artificial  marvels  of  India  and  adjacent  territories — 
Prester  John's  dominion  reaches  from  farther  India  to  the 
Babylonian  desert — are  especially  recorded.  This  letter 
even  in  its  earliest  and  briefest  form  seems  without  doubt  a 
western  forgery  and  bears  the  marks  of  its  Latin  origin,^ 

*In  Yule  (1903)  I,  231-7,  Cor- 
dier  discusses  whether  this  mon- 
arch was  Gurkhan  of  Kara  Khitai 
(as  urged  by  d'Avezac  and  Op- 
pert)  who  "in  1 141  came  to  the 
aid  of  the  King  of  Khwarizmi 
against  Sanjar,  the  Seljukian  sov- 
ereign of  Persia,  .  .  .  and  de- 
feated that  prince  with  great 
slaughter,"  or  whether  he  was 
"John  Orbelian  .  .  .  for  years  the 
pride  of  Georgia  and  the  hammer 
of  the  Turks"  (as  urged  by  Pro- 
fessor Bruun  of  Odessa). 

*  For  its  text,  with  interpola- 
tions distinguished  from  the  origi- 
nal text,  see  Zarncke  (1879)  909- 
924.  Some  of  the  passages  which 
Zarncke  regards  as  interpolations 
are,  however,  already  found  in 
I2th  century  MSS.  On  the 
other  hand,  his  text  does  not  in- 
clude all  the  interpolations  and 
variations  to  be  found  even  in  the 
MSS  which  he  describes.  For 
instance,  in  BN  6244A,  fol.  I30r, 
just  before  the  description  of  the 
herb  assidios,  occurs  a  passage 
which  may  be  translated  as  fol- 
lows :  "You  should  know  also 
that  in  our  country  we  do  not  need 
doctors,  for  we  have  precious 
stones,  herbs,  fountains,  and  trees 
of  so  great  virtue  that  they  pre- 
vail against  every  infirmity  and 
against  poisons  and  wounds.  And 
we  have  books  which  instruct  us 
and  distinguish  between  the  po- 
tencies and  virtues  of  the  herbs." 
In  this  MS  Prester  John  is  also 
more  voluble  on  the  theme  of  his 

devotion  to  the  Christian  faith 
than  appears  in  Zarncke's  text, 
and  (fols.  I27v-i28r)  repeats  the 
story  of  the  administration  of 
the  Eucharist  by  the  hand  of  the 
body  of  the  Apostle  Thomas. 
Zarncke  lists  about  one  hundred 
MSS  of  the  letter  but  fails  to 
use  or  mention  any  of  those  in 
the  Bodleian  Library  where,  for 
instance,  Digby  158,  fols.  2r-5v,  is 
of  the  twelfth  century.  Another 
twelfth  century  MS  not  in  his 
list  is  Paris  Arsenal  379A,  fol. 
34.  Zarncke  also  does  not  list  the 
MSS  of  the  letter  at  Madrid 
and  Wolfenbiittel. 

'In  many  MSS.  nothing  is  said 
of  its  being  a  translation  or  when 
or  by  whom  it  was  translated ; 
others  state  that  it  was  translated 
into  Greek  and  Latin,  or,  in  at 
least  one  case,  from  Arabic  into 
Latin.  Only  from  the  thirteenth 
century  on,  I  think,  is  Christian, 
Archbishop  of  Mainz,  sometimes 
said  to  have  translated  it  from 
Greek  into  Latin.  Often  it  is 
simply  stated  that  Manuel  trans- 
mitted the  letter  to  the  Emperor 
Frederick,  to  whom  also  it  is 
sometimes  represented  as  sent 
direct  by  Prester  John.  Some- 
times it  is  to  the  Pope  to  whom 
the  letter  comes  from  Manuel 
or  Prester  John. 

The  statement  that  Manuel 
transmitted  the  letter  to  the  Em- 
peror Frederick  makes  one  won- 
der whether  Anselm,  Bishop  of 
Havelberg  and  later  of  Ravenna, 




since  despite  the  use  of  a  few  Greek  ecclesiastical  and  official 
terms  ^  and  the  attempt  to  rehearse  unheard-of  wonders,  the 
writer  indulges  in  a  sneer  at  Greek  adoration  of  the  em- 
peror -  and  is  unable  to  conceive  of  Prester  John  except  as 
a  feudal  overlord  ^  with  the  usual  kings,  dukes  and  counts, 
archbishops,  bishops  and  abbots  under  him.  The  letter  then 
is  of  value  chiefly  as  showing  us  what  ideas  prevailed  con- 
cerning India  and  the  orient  in  the  Latin  world  of  the 
twelfth  and  succeeding  centuries,  for  the  letter  received 
many  additions  and  variations,  was  translated  into  the 
vernacular  languages,  and  appeared  in  print  before  ISOC* 
In  the  following  account  of  its  contents,  however,  I  shall 
try  to  describe  the  letter  as  it  existed  in  the  twelfth  century, 
after  which  I  shall  mention  what  seem  to  be  interpolations 
of  the  thirteenth  or  later  centuries. 

But  while  different  copies  of  the  work  vary,  all  have   Marvels 
the   same   general   character.      Prester   John   tells  what   a   [y^Pres^er 
mighty  and  Christian  potentate  he  is  and  describes  his  mar-    John, 
velous   palaces   and   contrivances   or   the   natural   marvels, 
strange  beasts  and  serpents,  monstrous  races  of  men,  potent 
herbs,  stones,  and  fountains,  to  be  found  in  the  lands  owning 
his  sway.     In  one  province  is  the  herb  assidios  which  en- 
ables its  bearer  to  rout  an  impure  spirit  and  force  him  to 

can  have  had  anything  to  do  with 
it.  He  was  sent  by  Frederick 
on  an  embassy  to  Manuel  in  1153, 
which  seems  to  identify  him  with 
the  author  of  a  "Liber  de  diver- 
sitate  nature  et  persone  proprie- 
tatumque  personaliwm  non  tarn 
Latinorum  quam  ex  Grecorum 
auctoritatibus  extractus"  —  CUL 
1824  (Qi.  vi.  27),  beautiful  13th 
century  hand,  fols.  129-76, — who 
states  in  his  preface  that  he  col- 
lected his  Greek  authorities  in 
Constantinople  where  he  was  sent 
by  Frederick  on  an  embassy  to 
Manuel,  and  on  his  return  to  Ger- 
many showed  them  to  Petro 
venerabili    Tusculano   episcopo." 

*  Such  as  Apocrisarius  and 
Archimandrite,  a  word  however 
not  entirely  unknown  in  the  west; 

see  Ducange. 

'  "Cum  enim  hominem  nos  esse 
cognoscamus,  te  Graeculi  tui 
Deum  esse  existimant,  cum  te 
mortalem  et  humanae  corruptioni 
subiacere  cognoscamus,"  Zarncke 
(1879)    910. 

*  For  instance,  the  writer  twice 
alludes  to  the  square  before  Pres- 
ter John's  palace  where  he 
watches  the  combatants  in  judicial 
duels  or  wager  of  battle,  Zarncke 
(1879)   918,  919. 

*  I  have  seen  a  copy  in  the  Brit- 
ish Museum  (lA.  8685),  De  Mira- 
bilibus  Indiae,  where  the  account 
given  Calixtus  II  of  miracles  of 
the  Apostle  Thomas  is  run  to- 
gether with  the  letter  of  Prester 


disclose  his  name  and  whence  he  comes.  "Wherefore  im- 
pure spirits  in  that  land  dare  not  take  possession  of  any- 
one." ^  A  fountain  flows  from  Mount  Olympus  not  three 
days'  journey  from  Paradise  whence  Adam  was  expelled. 
Three  draughts  from  it  taken  fasting  insure  one  henceforth 
from  all  infirmity,  and  however  long  one  may  live,  one  will 
seem  henceforth  but  thirty  years  of  age.^  Then  there  are 
some  little  stones  which  eagles  often  bring  to  Prester  John's 
territories  and  which  worn  on  the  finger  preserve  or  restore 
the  sight,  or  if  consecrated  with  a  lawful  incantation,  make 
one  invisible  and  dispel  envy  and  hatred  and  promote  con- 
cord.^ After  a  description  of  a  sea  of  sand  in  which  there 
are  various  kinds  of  edible  fish  and  a  river  of  stones,  Prester 
John  soon  mentions  the  worms  which  in  his  language  are 
called  salamanders,  who  cannot  live  except  in  fire,  and  from 
whose  skins  he  has  robes  made  which  can  be  cleansed  only 
by  fire.*  After  some  boasting  concerning  the  absence  of 
poverty,  crime,  and  falsehood  in  his  country  and  about  the 
pomp  and  wealth  with  which  he  goes  forth  to  war,  Prester 
John  then  comes  to  the  description  of  his  palace,  which  is 
similar  to  that  which  the  Apostle  Thomas  built  for  Gunda- 
phorus,  King  of  India.  Its  gates  of  sardonyx  mixed  with 
cornu  cerastis  (horn  of  the  horned  serpents)  prevent  the 
secret  introduction  of  poison;  a  couch  of   sapphire  keeps 

^Zarncke,   912;    Digby    158,    fol.  fol.     I45r.      It    will     be     recalled 

2v;  BN  2342,  fol.  191V;  BN  3359,  that  Charlemagne  is  said  to  have 

fol.  144V.  had   such  a  garment.      Pliny  dis- 

^Zarncke,  912-913;  MSS  as  be-  cussed      both      salamanders      and 

fore.    This  fountain  of  youth  was  asbestos  but   did  not   connect  the 

little    improved   upon    by   another  two.     Marco  Polo,  however,  says 

inserted    later     (Zarncke,    920-21;  (I    42,    Yule     (1903)     I,    212-3), 

BN    3359,    fol.    146V;    not    in    the  "The  real  truth  is  that  the  sala- 

other  two  MSS),  which  one  had  mander  is  no  beast,  as  they  allege 

to  taste  thrice  daily  on  a  fasting  in   our  part  of  the  world,  but  is 

stomach    for    three     years,     three  a    substance    found    in    the    earth, 

months,  three  weeks,  three  days,  .  .  .  Everybody  must  be  aware  that 

and  three  hours,  in  order  to  live  it    can   be   no   animal's   nature  to 

and    remain    youthful    for    three  live  in  fire,  seeing  that  every  ani- 

hundred  years,  three  months,  three  mal  is  composed  of  all  four  ele- 

weeks,  three  days,  and  three  hours.  ments."     Polo  confirms,  however, 

'  Zarncke,  913 ;   Digby    158,    fol.  the  report  of  robes  made  of   in- 

3r,   etc.  combustible     mineral     fibre     and 

*  Zarncke,  915;    Digby    158,   fol.  cleansed  by  fire. 
3v;  BN  2342,  fol.  I92r;  BN  3359, 





John  chaste;  the  square  before  the  palace  where  judicial 
duels  are  held  is  paved  with  onyx  "in  order  that  the  courage 
of  the  fighters  may  be  increased  by  the  virtue  of  the  stone."  ^ 
Near  this  square  is  a  magic  mirror  which  reveals  all  plots 
in  the  provinces  subject  to  Prester  John  or  in  adjacent 
lands.-  In  some  manuscripts  of  the  twelfth  century  is  a 
description  of  another  palace  which  before  Prester  John's 
birth  his  father  was  instructed  in  a  dream  to  build  for  his 
son.  One  feature  of  it  is  that  no  matter  how  hungry  one 
may  be  on  entering  it,  he  always  comes  out  feeling  as  full 
as  if  he  had  partaken  of  a  sumptuous  banquet.^ 

To  such  marvels  in  the  early  versions  of  the  Letter  of  Additional 
Prester  John  were  added  others  in  the  course  of  the  thir- 
teenth century  and  later  middle  ages : — the  huge  man-eating 
ants  who  mined  gold  by  night ;  ^  the  land  where  men  lived 
on  manna,  a  substance  which  we  shall  find  somewhat 
similarly  mentioned  by  Michael  Scot  and  Thomas  of 
Cantimpre ;  ^  the  tale,  which  we  shall  also  hear  from  Roger 
Bacon,  of  men  who  tame  fiying  dragons  by  their  incantations 
and  magic,  saddle  and  bridle  them,  and  ride  them  through 
the  air ;  ^  the  five  marvelous  stones  that  froze  or  heated  or 
reduced  to  an  even  state  of  temperature  or  made  light  or 
dark  everything  within  a  radius  of  five  miles;  the  second 
five  stones,  of  which  two  were  unconsecrated  and  turned 
water  to  milk  or  wine,  while  three  were  consecrated  and 
would  respectively  cause  fish  to  congregate,  wild  beasts  to 
follow  one,  and,  sprinkled  with  hot  lion's  blooJ,  produce  a 
conflagration  which  could  only  be  quenched  by  sprinkling 
the  stone  with  hot  dragon's  blood ;  '^  the  marvelous  mill 
operated  by  the  occult  virtue  of  the  stone  adamant;^  the 

^Zarncke,  918;  Digby  158,  fol. 
4r;  BN  2342,  fol.  I92r;  BN  3359, 
fol.  145V. 

"Zarncke,  919-20;  Digby  158, 
fols.  4v-5r;  BN  2342,  fol.  192V; 
BN   3359,   fol.    I46r. 

'Zarncke,  920-22;  Digby  158 
fol.  5v;  BN  2342,  fol.  192V;  BN 
3359.  fol.  I46r-v. 

*  Zarncke,  911. 

''Ibid.,  913.  For  Michael  Scot, 
see  Chapter  51,  page  324;  for 
Thomas    of    Cantimpre,    Chapter 

53.  page  393- 

'Zarncke,  913.  For  Roger  Ba- 
con, see  Chapter  61,  page  657. 

'Zarncke,  915-16. 

*^Ibid,  918-19. 



The  letter 
of  Pope 
der III. 

the  papal 

wonderful  tree  on  which  the  wonderful  healing  apple  grew ;  ^ 
the  marvelous  chapel  of  glass,  always  just  big  enough  for  as 
many  persons  as  entered  it ;  ^  and  the  stone  and  the  foun- 
tain that  served  as  fireless  heaters.^  In  another  case  a 
marvel  is  wrought  by  stone  and  fountain  combined.  Two 
old  men  guard  a  large  stone  and  admit  to  its  hollow  only 
Christians  or  those  who  desire  to  become  Christians.  If 
this  profession  of  faith  is  genuine,  the  water  in  the  hollow 
which  is  usually  only  four  fingers  deep  thrice  rises  above 
the  head  of  the  person  admitted,  who  thereupon  emerges 
recovered  from  all  sickness.^ 

How  real  Prester  John  was  to  the  men  of  the  twelfth 
century  may  be  seen  from  the  fact  that  Pope  Alexander  III 
on  September  2y,  1177,  addressed  from  the  Rialto  in  Venice 
a  letter  to  him  or  to  some  actual  eastern  potentate  whom  he 
had  confused  with  him.^  The  Pope  does  not  expressly  men- 
tion Prester  John's  letter  to  Manuel  but  says  that  he  has 
heard  of  him  from  many  persons  and  common  report,  and 
more  especially  from  "Master  Philip,  our  friend  and  physi- 
cian," who  had  talked  "with  great  and  honourable  men  of 
your  kingdom,"  by  whom  he  had  been  informed  of  their 
ruler's  desire  for  a  church  and  altar  at  Jerusalem.  It  is  this 
Philip  whom  the  Pope  now  sends  with  his  letter  to  Prester 
John  and  to  instruct  him  in  the  doctrine  of  the  Roman 
church.  But  it  is  a  long  and  laborious  journey  involving 
many  hardships  and  vicissitudes  and  the  traversing  of  many 
countries  with  barbarous  and  unknown  languages. 

Whether  Philip  ever  succeeded  in  delivering  the  letter 
is  not  known  and  he  has  himself  been  regarded  as  a  mys- 
terious personage  of  whom  nothing  further  was  known.® 
I  would  suggest,  however,  that,  as  he  seems  to  have  been 
conversant  with  Syria  and  the  Holy  Land,  he  may  have 
been   the    Philip   of   whose    translation    of    the   Secret   of 

^Zarncke,  921. 

'Ibid.,  922. 

'Ibid.,  923. 

*  Ibid.,  914. 

'Text  of  the  letter  in  Zarncke, 


*  Zarncke,  945,  "Der  Philippus, 
den  der  Papst  seinen  familiaris 
nennt,  ist  bis  jetzt  nicht  nach- 


Secrets  of  the  Pseudo-Aristotle  we  shall  treat  in  the  next 
chapter,  a  work  which  he  found  in  Antioch  and  dedicated 
to  the  bishop  of  Tripoli.  Or,  if  we  do  not  meet  this  par- 
ticular Philip  again,  we  sliall  find  in  close  relations  with 
other  popes  other  physicians  whose  names  are  prominent  in 
the  natural  and  occult  science  of  the  age. 



Alexander  and  Aristotle — Spurious  writings  ascribed  to  Aristotle — 
Aristotle  and  experiment — Aristotle  and  alchemy:  Meteorology  and 
On  colors — Works  of  alchemy  ascribed  to  Aristotle — Aristotle  and 
Alexander  as  alchemists — Aristotle  and  astrology — Astrology  and 
magic  in  the  Theology  and  De  Porno  of  Aristotle — Liber  de  causis 
proprietatttm  elenientorum  et  planetarum — Other  astrological  treatises 
ascribed  to  Aristotle — Aristotle  and  250  volumes  of  the  Indians^ 
Works  on  astrological  images — And  on  necromantic  images — Alexan- 
der as  an  astrologer — Aristotle  and  spirits — On  plants  and  the  Lapi- 
dary— ^Virtues  of  gems — Stories  of  Alexander  and  of  Socrates — Alex- 
ander's submarine — Arabian  tales  of  Alexander — A  magic  horn — More 
stories  of  Alexander  and  gems — Story  of  Alexander's  belt — The  royal 
Lapidary  of  Wenzel  II  of  Bohemia — Chiromancy  and  Physiognomy  of 
Aristotle — The  Secret  of  Secrets — Its  textual  history — The  Latin 
translations  of  John  of  Spain  and  Philip — Philip's  preface — Promi- 
nence of  occult  science — Absence  of  mysticism — Discussion  of  king- 
ship— Medical  discussion — Astrology — Story  of  the  two  boys — Virtues 
of  stones  and  herbs,  incantations  and  amulets — Thirteenth  century 
scepticism — Number  and  alchemy — The  poisonous  maiden — The  Jew 
and  the  Magus. 

Alexander  In  a  previous  chapter  we  have  seen  what  a  wide  currency 
rotk"*^*^'^'  the  legend  of  Alexander  had  both  in  east  and  west  in  the 
later  Roman  Empire  and  early  middle  ages,  and  how  with 
Alexander  was  associated  the  magician  and  astrologer 
Nectanebus.  We  also  saw  that  by  about  800  A.  D.  at  least 
a  separate  Letter  of  Alexander  to  Aristotle  on  the  Marvels 
of  India  was  current  in  the  Latin  west,  and  in  the  present 
chapter  it  is  especially  to  the  Pseudo-Aristotle  and  his  con- 
nection with  Alexander  and  India,  rather  than  to  the  Pseudo- 
Callisthenes,  that  we  turn.  The  tremendous  historical  im- 
portance of  the  career  of  Alexander  the  Great  and  of  the 
writings  of  Aristotle  impressed  itself  perhaps  even  unduly 
upon  both  the  Arabian  and  the  medieval  mind.     The  per- 





sonal  connection  between  the  two  men — Aristotle  was  for 
a  time  Alexander's  tutor — was  seized  upon  and  magnified. 
Pliny  in  his  Natural  History  had  stated  that  Alexander  had 
empowered  Aristotle  to  send  two  thousand  men  to  different 
parts  of  the  world  to  test  by  experience  all  things  on  the 
face  of  the  earth.^  This  account  of  their  scientific  co- 
operation was  enlarged  upon  by  spurious  writings  associated 
with  their  names  like  the  letter  on  the  marvels  of  India.^ 
With  the  introduction  into  western  Europe  in  the  twelfth 
and  early  thirteenth  centuries  of  many  genuine  works  of 
Aristotle  unknown  to  the  early  middle  ages,  which  had 
possessed  only  certain  of  his  logical  treatises,  there  also 
came  into  circulation  a  number  of  spurious  writings  as- 
cribed to  him. 

It  is  not  surprising  that  many  spurious  works  were 
attributed  to  Aristotle  in  the  middle  ages,  when  we  remem- 
ber that  his  writings  came  to  them  for  the  most  part  in- 
directly through  corrupt  translations,  and  that  some  writing 
from  so  great  a  master  was  eagerly  looked  for  upon  every 
subject  in  which  they  were  interested.  It  seemed  to  them 
that  so  encyclopedic  a  genius  must  have  touched  on  all 
fields  of  knowledge  and  they  often  failed  to  realize  that  in 
Aristotle's  time  the  departments  of  learning  had  been  some- 
what different  from  their  own  and  that  new  interests  and 
doctrine  had  developed  since  then.  There  was  also  a 
tendency  to  ascribe  to  Aristotle  any  work  of  unknown  or 
uncertain  authorship.  At  the  close  of  the  twelfth  century 
Alexander  Neckam  ^  lists  among  historic  instances  of  envy 
Aristotle's  holding  back  from  posterity  certain  of  his  most 
subtle  writings,  which  he  ordered  should  be  buried  with 

to  Aris- 

^  See  Roger  Bacon's  allusion  to 
this  passage  in  F.  A.  Gasquet,  "An 
Unpublished  Fragment  of  a  Work 
by  Roger  Bacon,"  in  EHR,  XII 
(1897),  p.  502. 

'  Ch.  Gidel,  La  Legcnde  d' Arts- 
tote  au  moyen  age,  in  Assoc,  des 
Etudes  Grecques.  (1874),  pp.  285- 
332,  except  for  the  Pseudo-Callis- 
thenes  uses  only  the  French  ver- 

nacular literature  or  popular  leg- 
ends concerning  Aristotle.  Simi- 
lar in  scope  is  W.  Hertz,  Aris- 
toteles  in  den  Alexanderdichtiingen 
des  Mittelalters,  in  Abhandl.  d. 
philos-philol.  Classe  d.  k.  bayr. 
Akad.d.Wiss.,XIX  (1892)  1-103; 
revised  in  W.  Hertz,  Gesammelte 
Abhandlungen,  1905,  1-155. 
'  De  naturis  rerum,  II,  1891 



him.  At  the  same  time  he  so  guarded  the  place  of  his 
sepulcher,  whether  by  some  force  of  nature  or  power  of  art 
or  prodigy  of  magic  is  uncertain,  that  no  one  has  yet  been 
able  to  approach  it,  although  some  think  that  Antichrist 
will  be  able  to  inspect  these  books  when  he  comes.  Roger 
Bacon  in  the  thirteenth  century  believed  that  Aristotle  had 
written  over  a  thousand  works  and  complained  bitterly 
because  certain  treatises,  which  were  probably  really 
apocryphal,  had  not  been  translated  into  Latin.^  Indeed, 
some  of  the  works  ascribed  to  Aristotle  in  the  Oriental  and 
Mohammedan  worlds  were  never  translated  into  Latin,  such 
as  the  astrological  De  impressionibus  'coclestibus  which 
Bacon  mentions,  or  the  Syriac  text  which  K.  Ahrens  edited 
in  1892  with  a  German  translation  as  "Das  Buch  der 
Naturgegenstande" ;  or  first  appeared  in  Latin  guise  after 
the  invention  of  printing,  as  was  the  case  with  the  so-called 
Theology  of  Aristotle,^  a  work  which  was  little  more  than 
a  series  of  extracts  from  the  Enncads  of  Plotinus.^  Some 
treatises  attributed  to  Aristotle  in  medieval  Latin  do  not  bear 
especially  upon  our  investigation,  such  as  Grammar  which 
Grosseteste  is  said  to  have  translated  from  Greek.'* 

^  Compendium  Studii  Philoso- 
phiac,  ed.  Brewer,   (1859),  p.  473. 

^  It  was  translated  into  Arabic 
about  840  A.  D. ;  an  interpolated 
Latin  paraphrase  of  it  was  pub- 
lished at  Rome  in  1519,  by  Pietro 
Niccolo  de'  Castellani, — Sapien- 
tissimi  Aristotelis  Stagiritae 
Theologia  sive  mistica  philoso- 
pbia,  secundum  Acgyptios  noviter 
reperta  et  in  latinam  castigatissime 
redacta;  a  French  version  ap- 
peared at  Paris  in  1572  (Carra  de 
Vaux,  Aviccnnc,  p.  74).  F.  Die- 
terici  translated  it  from  Arabic 
into  German  in  1883,  after  pub- 
lishing the  Arabic  text  for  the 
first  time  in  1S82.  For  diver- 
gences between  this  Arabic  text 
and  the  Latin  one  of  1519,  and 
citation  of  Baumgartner  that  the 
Theology  was  known  in  Latin 
translation  as  early  as  1200,  see 
Grabmann    (1916),   pp.   245-7. 

'  Indeed  Carra  de  Vaux,  Avi- 
cenne,  p.  73,  says,  "Tout  un  livre 
qui  ne  contient  en  realite  que  des 
extraits  des  Enneades  IV  a  VI 
de  Plotin." 

*See  Arundel  MS  165,  14th 
century.  On  the  general  subject 
of  the  Pseudo-Aristotelian  litera- 
ture the  reader  may  consult  V. 
Rose,  Aristoteles  Pseudcpigra- 
phus,  and  De  ordine  et  auctoritate 
librorum  Aristotelis;  Munk's  ar- 
ticle "Aristote"  in  La  France  lit- 
trrairc;  Schwab,  Bibliographie 
d' Aristote,  Paris,  1896;  and  R. 
Shute,  History  of  the  Aristotelian 
Writings,  Oxford,  1888  It  is. 
however,  a  difificult  subject  and 
for  the  middle  ages  at  least  has 
not  been  satisfactorily  investi- 
gated. Grabmann  (1916)  devotes 
only  a  page  or  two  of  supplement 
to  it;  see  pp.  248-51.  A  work  on 
Aristotle  in  the  middle  ages,  an- 




For  our  purposes  the  Pseudo-Aristotelian  writings 
may  be  sub-divided  under  seven  heads :  experiment, 
alchemy,  astrology,  spirits,  occult  virtues  of  stones  and 
herbs,  chiromancy  and  physiognomy,  and  last  the  famous 
Secret  of  Secrets.  Under  the  first  of  these  heads  may 
be  put  a  treatise  on  the  conduct  of  waters,  which  consists 
of  a  series  of  experiments  in  siphoning  and  the  like  illus- 
trated in  the  manuscript  by  lettered  and  colored  figures  and 
diagrams.^  In  a  Vatican  manuscript  it  is  perhaps  more 
correctly  ascribed  to  Philo  of  Byzantium. 

From  experiment  to  alchemy  is  an  easy  step,  for  the 
alchemists  experimented  a  good  deal  in  the  period  which  we 
are  now  considering.  The  fourth  book  of  the  Meteorology 
of  Aristotle,  which,  if  not  a  genuine  portion  of  that  work, 
at  least  goes  back  to  the  third  century  before  Christ,"  has 
been  called  a  manual  of  chemistry,^  and  apparently  is  the 
oldest  such  extant.  Its  doctrines  are  also  believed  to  have 
been  influential  in  the  development  of  alchemy;  and  there 
were  passages  in  this  fourth  book  which  led  men  later  to 
regard  Aristotle  as  favorable  to  the  doctrine  of  the  trans- 
mutation of  metals.  Gerard  of  Cremona  had  translated  only 
the  first  three  books  of  the  Meteorology;  the  fourth  was 
supplied  from  a  translation  from  the  Greek  made  by 
Henricus  Aristippus  who  died  in  1162;  to  this  fourth 
book  were  added  three  chapters  translated  by  Alfred  of  Eng- 
land or  of  Sareshel  from  the  Arabic,"*  apparently  of  Avi- 

and  ex- 

nounced  in  1904  by  G.  H.  Luquel, 
seems  not  to  have  appeared. 

*  Sloane  2030,  fols.   1 10-13. 

*  Hammer-Jensen,  Das  sogen- 
annte  IV  Buck  der  Meteorologie 
des  Aristoteles,  in  Hermes,  vol. 
50  (191 5)  PP-  .113-36,  argues  that 
its  teachings  differ  from  those  of 
Aristotle  and  assigns  it  to  Strato, 
his  younger  contemporary.  Not 
content  with  this  thesis,  which  is 
easier  to  suggest  than  to  prove, 
Hammer-Jensen  contends  that  it 
was  a  work  of  Strato's  youth 
and  that  it  profoundly  influenced 
Aristotle  himself  in  his  last  works. 
"The  convenient  Strato!"  as  he  is 


alchemy : 
ology and 
On  colors. 

called  by  Loveday  and  Forster 
in  the  preface  to  their  transla- 
tion of  De  color ibus  (1913)  vol. 
VI  of  The  Works  of  Aristotle 
translated  into  English  under  the 
editorship  of  W.  D.  Ross. 

'So  Hammer-Jensen,  p.  113,  and 
earlier  Heller   (1882),  I,  61. 

*  Niirnberg  Stadtbibliothek  (cen- 
tur.  V,  59,  membr.  13th  century)  — 
cited  by  Rose,  Hermes  i,  385. — 
"Completus  est  liber  metheororum 
cuius  tres  primos  libros  transtulit 
magister  Gerardus  Lumbardus 
summus  philosophus  de  arabico  in 
latinum.  Quartum  autem  trans- 
tulit Henricus  Aristippus  de  greco 



cenna.^  These  additions  of  Alfred  from  Avicenna  discussed 
the  formation  of  metals  but  attacked  the  alchemists.^  Vin- 
cent of  Beauvais  ^  and  Albertus  Magnus  ^  were  both  aware, 
however,  that  this  attack  upon  the  alchemists  was  probably 
not  by  Aristotle.  The  short  treatise  On  colors,^  which  is  in- 
cluded in  so  many  medieval  manuscript  collections  of  the 
works  of  Aristotle  in  Latin, ^  by  its  very  title  would  suggest 
to  medieval  readers  that  he  had  been  interested  in  the  art  of 
alchemy,  although  its  actual  contents  deal  only  in  small  part 
with  dyes  and  tinctures.  Its  form  and  contents  are  not  re- 
garded as  Aristotle's,  but  it  was  perhaps  by  someone  of  the 
Peripatetic  school.  Thus  works  which,  if  not  by  Aristotle 
himself,  at  least  had  been  written  in  Greek  long  before  the 
medieval  period,  gave  medieval  readers  the  impression  that 
Aristotle  was  favorable  to  alchemy. 

in  latinum.  Tria  ultima  capitula 
transtulit  Aluredus  Anglicus  sare- 
lensis  de  arabico  in  latinum." 

Steinschneider  (1893)  pp.  59 
and  84;  (1905)  p.  7;  and  others, 
including  Hammer-Jensen,  give 
the  name  of  the  translator  of  the 
fourth  book  from  the  Greek  as 
Hermann  and  of  the  last  three 
chapters  as  Aurelius,  whom  Stein- 
schneider is  more  correct  in  de- 
scribing as  "otherwise  unknown." 
On  the  other  hand,  we  know  that 
Aristippus  and  Alfred  translated 
other  Aristotelian  treatises.  Evi- 
dently Steinschneider  and  the 
others  have  followed  MSS  where 
the  copyist  has  corrupted  the 
proper   names. 

^  Steinschneider  and  Hammer- 
Jensen  quote  from  MSS,  "tria 
vero  ultima  Avicennae  capitula 
transtulit  Aurelius  de  arabico  in 
latinum."  Albertus  Magnus,  Mi- 
neral, HI,  i,  9,  also  ascribed  the 
passage  to  Avicenna ;  others  have 
suggested  that  it  is  by  disciples  of 
Avicenna.  See  J.  Wood  Brown 
(1897)  pp.  72-3,  for  a  similar 
passage  from  Avicenna's  Sermo 
de  generatione  lapidum. 

'  They  were  printed  at  Bologna, 
1501,  as  Liber  de  mineralibus 
Aristotelis     and     also     published, 

sometimes  as  Geber's,  sometimes 
as  Avicenna's,  under  the  title. 
Liber   de   congelatione. 

BN  16142  contains  a  Latin 
translation  of  the  four  books  of 
the  Meteorology  with  an  addition 
dealing  with  minerals  and  geol- 
ogy which  is  briefer  than  the 
printed  Liber  de  mineralibus 
Aristotelis,  omitting  the  passage 
against  the  alchemists :  published 
by  F.  de  Mely,  Rev.  des  Studes 
grecques,  (1894),  p.  185  et  seq. 
(cited    Hammer-Jensen,    131). 

^Speculum  naturale,  VHI,  85. 

*  See   note    i    above. 

^  Greek  text  by  Prantl,  Teubner, 
1881 ;  English  translation  by  Love- 
day  and  Forster,  1913.  See  also 
Prantl,  Aristoteles  iiber  die  Far- 
ben.   1849. 

*  Just  a  few  examples  are :  Ma- 
zarine 3458  and  3459,  13th  cen- 
tury; 3460  and  3461,  14th  century; 
Arsenal  748A,  15th  century,  fol. 
185 ;  BN  6325,  14th  century,  ti ; 
BN  14719,  I4-I5th  century,  fol. 
38-;  BN  14717,  end  13th  century; 
BN  16633.  13th  century,  fol.  102- ; 
S.  Marco  X,  57,  13th  century, 
beautifully  illuminated,  fols.  312- 
17;  Assisi  283,  14th  century,  fol. 
289-;  Volterra  19,  14th  century, 
fol.   196-. 




It  is  therefore  not  surprising  that  works  of  alchemy  ap-    Works  of 

peared  in  medieval  Latin  under  Aristotle's  name.  The 
names  of  Plato  and  Aristotle  had  headed  the  lists  of  alchem- 
ists in  Greek  manuscripts  although  no  works  ascribed  to 
Aristotle  have  been  preserved  in  the  same.^  Berthelot,  how- 
ever, speaks  of  a  pseudo-Aristotle  in  Arabic,^  and  in  an  Ox- 
ford manuscript  of  the  thirteenth  century  under  the  name 
of  Aristotle  appears  a  treatise  On  the  tzvelve  zva-ters  of  the 
secret  riz'er  said  to  be  "translated  from  Arabic  into  Latin."  ' 
In  the  preface  the  author  promises  that  whoever  becomes 
skilled,  adept,  and  expert  in  these  twelve  waters  will  never 
lose  hope  nor  be  depressed  by  want.  He  regards  this  treatise 
as  the  chief  among  his  works,  since  he  has  learned  these  wa- 
ters by  experiment.  They  are  all  chemical  rather  than 
medical;  a  brief  "chapter"  or  paragraph  is  devoted  to  each. 
In  another  manuscript  at  the  Bodleian  two  brief  tracts  are 
ascribed  to  Aristotle;  one  describes  the  seven  metals,  the 
other  deals  with  transmutation.*  In  a  single  manuscript  at 
Munich  both  a  theoretical  treatise  in  medicine  and  alchemy 
and  a  Practica  are  attributed  to  Aristotle,  and  in  two  other 
manuscripts  he  is  credited  with  the  Book  of  Seventy  Pre- 
cepts which  sometimes  is  ascribed  to  Geber.^     Thomas  of 

"Berthelot  (1885)  p.  143,  "Pla- 
ten et  Aristote  sent  mis  en  tete 
de  la  liste  des  alchimistes  oecu- 
meniques  sans  qu'  aucun  ouvrage 
leur  soit  assigne." 

"Berthelot  (1888)  I,  76;  citing 
Manget,  Bibl.  Chemica,  I,  622. 

*  Digby  162,  13th  century,  fols. 
lov-iiv,  "Incipit  liber  Aristotelis 
de  aquis  secreti  fluminis  transla- 
tus  ab  arabico  in  latinum."  In 
the  margin  the  twelve  waters  are 
briefly  designated :  i  ruhictinda, 
2  penctrativa,  3  mollificativa,  et 
ingrediente,  4  de  aqua  eiusdem 
ponderis  et  magnitudinis,  5  ignita, 
6  sulphurea,  7  aqua  cineris,  8 
aurea,  etc.  In  one  or  two  cases, 
however,  these  heads  do  not  quite 
apply  to  the  corresponding  chap- 

*Ashmole  1448,  15th  century, 
pp.  200-202,  de  "altitudinibus,  pro- 

fundis,  lateribusque"  metallorum 
secundum  Aristotelem  (name  in 
the  margin).  It  opens,  "Plum- 
bum est  in  altitudine  sua  ar. 
nigrum."  It  takes  up  in  turn  the 
altitudo  of  each  metal  and  then 
discusses  the  next  quality  in  the 
same   way. 

Ibid.,  pp.  239-44,  opens,  "Ares- 
totilus.  Cum  studii,  etc.  Scias 
preterea  quod  propter  longitudi- 
nes" ;  at  p.  241  it  treats  "de  puri- 
ficatione  solis  et  lune"  (i.e.,  gold 
and  silver)  ;  at  p.  243,  "de  sepa- 
ratione  solis  et  lune."  It  ends 
with  a  paragraph  about  the  com- 
position of  a  golden  seal. 

*CLM  12026,  15th  century,  fol. 
46-,  "Alchymia  est  ars  docens.  .  .  . 
/  .  .  .  Explicit  dicto  libri  (,sic) 
Aristotelis  de  theorica  in  rebus 
naturalibus" ;  fol.  78,  Liber  Aris- 
totelis de  practica  summae  philoso- 

to  Aris- 



and  Alex- 
ander as 

Cantimpre  cites  Aristotle  in  the  Lumen  luminum  as  saying 
that  the  best  gold  is  made  from  yellow  copper  ore  and  the 
urine  of  a  boy,  but  Thomas  hastens  to  add  that  such  gold  is 
best  in  color  rather  than  in  substance.^  The  translation  of 
the  Lumen  luniinimi  is  ascribed  both  to  Michael  Scot  and 
brother  Elias.-  Aristotle  is  quoted  several  times  in  De  al- 
chimia,  ascribed  to  Albertus  Magnus,  but  only  in  the  later 
"Additions"  to  it,  where  Roger  Bacon  also  is  cited,  is  the 
specific  title  Liber  de  perfecto  magisterio  given  as  Aris- 
totle's.^ Sometimes  works  of  alchemy  were  very  carelessly 
ascribed  to  Aristotle,  when  it  is  perfectly  evident  from  the 
works  themselves  that  they  could  not  have  been  written  by 

The  alchemical  discoveries  and  writings  ascribed  to  Aris- 
totle are  often  associated  in  some  way  with  Alexander  the 
Great  as  well.  In  one  manuscript  John  of  Spain's  transla- 
tion of  the  Secret  of  Secrets  is  followed  by  a  description  of 
the  virtues  and  compositions  of  four  stones  "which  Aris- 
totle sent  to  Alexander  the  Great."  ^  It  seems  obvious  that 
these  are  philosopher's  stones  and  not  natural  gems.  The 
Liher  ignium  of  Marcus  Grecus,  composed  in  the  thirteenth 
or  early  fourteenth  century,  ascribes  to  Aristotle  the  discov- 
ery of  two  marvelous  kinds  of  fires.  One,  which  he  dis- 
covered while  traveling  with  Alexander  the  king,  will  burn 
for  a  year  without  cessation.  The  other,  in  the  composition 
of  which  observance  of  the  dog-days  is  requisite,  "Aristotle 

phiae,  "Primo  de  separatione  salis 
communis.  .  .  ." 

CLM  25 1 10,  15th  century,  fols. 
211-45,  Liber  Aristotelis  de  70 

CLM  25 1 13,  i6th  century,  fols. 
10-28,  A.  de  alchimia  liber  qui 
dicitur  de  70  preceptis. 

^  Egerton  1984,  fol.  14IV;  in  the 
De   natura   rerum. 

'See  Chapter  51  on  Michael 
Scot,  near  the  close. 

*  Caps.  22  and  57.  It  was  print- 
ed with  further  "Additions"  of 
its  own  in  1561  in  Verae  alchemiae 
artisque  metallicae  citra  aenigma- 
ta,  Basel,   1561,  II,   188-225. 

■*  Thus  in  Auriferae  artis  quam 
chemiam  vocant  antiqiiisstmi  au- 
thores,  Basel,  1572,  pp.  387-99. 
a  treatise  which  cites  Morienus, 
Rasis,  and  Avicenna  is  printed 
as  Tractatulus  Aristotelis  de 
Practica  lapidis  philosophici.  Ap- 
parently the  only  reason  for  as- 
cribing it  to  Aristotle  is  that  it 
cites  "the  philosopher"  in  its 
opening  sentence,  "Cum  omne 
corpus  secundum  philosophum  aut 
est  elementum  aut  ab  dementis 

"Laud.  Misc.  708,  15th  century, 
fol.  54- 



asserts  will  last  for  nine  years."  ^  A  collection  of  chemical 
experiments  by  a  Nicholas,  of  whom  we  shall  have  more  to 
say  in  a  later  chapter,  gives  "a  fire  which  Aristotle  discov- 
ered with  Alexander  for  obscure  places."  ^  A  letter  of 
Aristode  to  Alexander  in  a  collection  of  alchemical  tracts 
is  hardly  worth  noting,  as  it  is  only  seven  lines  long,  but  it 
is  interesting  to  observe  that  it  cites  Aristotle's  Meteorol- 
ogy.^ Perhaps  by  a  mistake  one  or  two  alchemical  trea- 
tises are  ascribed  to  Alexander  rather  than  Aristotle.^ 

Aristotle's  genuine  works  give  even  more  encourage- 
ment to  the  pretensions  of  astrology  than  to  those  of  al- 
chemy. His  opinion  that  the  four  elements  were  insuffi- 
cient to  explain  natural  phenomena  and  his  theory  of  a  fifth 
essence  were  favorable  to  the  belief  in  occult  virtue  and  the 
influence  of  the  stars  upon  inferior  objects.    In  his  work  on 

•  Berthelot 

'  Ashmole 
p.    123. 


(1893),    I. 
1448,     15th 

105  and 

1450,  isth 
fol.  8,  "Epistola  ad  Alexandrum. 
O  Alexander  rector  hominum  .  .  . 
/  .  .  .  et  audientes  non  intelli- 

Harleian  3703,  14th  century, 
fols.  4ir-42r,  Aristoteles  ad  alex- 
andrum.  "In  primo  o  elaxandor 
tradere  tibi  volo  secretorum  maxi- 
mum secretum  .  .  .,"  is  a  similar 

*  Ashmole  1384,  mid  14th  cen- 
tury, fols.  9iv-93r,  "Incipit  Episto- 
la Allexandri.  Dicunt  philosophi 
quod  ars  dirivata  sit  ex  creatione 
hominis  cui  omnia  insunt  .  .  .  / 
...  ex  omni  specie  et  colore 
nomine.  Explicit  epistola  Alexan- 
dri."  In  the  text  itself,  which  is 
written  in  the  manner  of  a  master 
to  a  disciple,  there  is  nothing  to 
show  that  the  work  is  by  Alexan- 
der rather  than  Aristotle. 

The  following  is  apparently  the 
same  treatise  but  the  closing  words 
are  different. 

Riccard.  1165.  15th  century,  fols. 
i6r-3,  Liber  Alexandri  in  scientia 
secretorum  nature.  "Dicitur  quod 
hec  ars  derivata  sit  ex  creacione 

hominis  cui  omnia  insunt  .  .  .  / 
.  .  .  et  deo  annuente  ad  optatum 
finem  pervenies." 

The  next  would  seem  to  be 
another  treatise  than  the  fore- 

Arezzo  2^2,  15th  century,  fols 
1-14,  "Liber  transmissus  ab  Alex- 
andre rege  ex  libro  Hermogenis." 

Hermogenes,  who  is  cited  on 
the  subject  of  the  philosopher's 
stone  in  at  least  one  MS  of  the 
Secret  of  Secrets  (Bodleian  67, 
fol.  :^i\,  "Et  pater  noster  Her- 
mogenes qui  triplex  est  in  philo- 
sophia  optime  philosophando  dix- 
it"), is  apparently  none  other  than 
Hermes  Trismegistus.  He  is  also 
mentioned  in  a  brief  work  of 
Aristotle  to  Alexander;  Har- 
leian 3703,  14th  century,  fols.  41  r- 
42r,"  .  .  .  hermogenes  quod  {sic) 
egypti  multum  commendunt  et 
laudant  et  sibi  attribuant  omnem 
scientiam  secretam  et  celerem 
(?)."  The  use  of  the  reflexive 
pronoun  in  this  sentence  to  refer 
to  Hermogenes  I  would  have  the 
reader  note,  as  it  appears  to  illus- 
trate a  fairly  common  medieval 
usage  which  has  or  will  lead  me 
to  alter  the  translations  which 
have  been  proposed  for  certain 
other  passages. 






and  magic 
in  the 
and  De 
porno  of 

generation  ^  he  held  that  the  elements  alone  were  mere  tools 
without  a  workman;  the  missing  agent  is  supplied  by  the 
revolution  of  the  heavens.  In  the  twelfth  book  of  the 
Metaphysics  he  described  the  stars  and  planets  as  eternal 
and  acting  as  intermediaries  between  the  prime  Mover  and 
inferior  beings.  Thus  they  are  the  direct  causes  of  all  life 
and  action  in  our  world.  Charles  Jourdain  regarded  the 
introduction  of  the  Metaphysics  into  western  Europe  at  the 
opening  of  the  thirteenth  century  as  a  principal  cause  for  the 
great  prevalence  of  astrology  from  that  time  on,  the  other 
main  cause  being  the  translation  of  Arabian  astrological 
treatises.^  Jourdain  did  not  duly  appreciate  the  great  hold 
which  astrology  already  had  in  the  twelfth  century,  but  it  is 
nevertheless  true  that  in  the  new  Aristotle  astrology  found 
further  support. 

Astrology  crops  out  here  and  there  in  most  of  the  spuri- 
ous works  extant  under  Aristotle's  name,  just  as  it  does  in 
medieval  learning  everywhere.  One  section  of  a  dozen 
pages  in  the  Theology  discusses  the  influence  of  the  stars 
upon  nature  and  the  working  of  magic  by  making  use  of 
these  celestial  forces  and  the  natural  attraction  which  things 
have  for  one  another.  It  regards  artificial  magic  as  a  fraud 
but  natural  and  astrological  magic  as  a  reality.  However, 
as  in  the  original  text  of  Plotinus  which  the  Theology  fol- 
lows, it  is  only  the  animal  soul  which  is  affected  by  magic 
and  the  man  of  impulse  who  is  moved  thereby;  the  thinking 
man  can  free  himself  from  its  influence  by  use  of  the  rational 
soul.  In  the  treatise,  De  porno ^  which  seems  not  to  have  been 
translated  into  Latin  until  the  thirteenth  century  under  Man-, 
fred,^  Aristotle  on  his  death  bed,  holding  in  his  hand  an 

'II,  9. 

*  Excursions  historiques,  etc.,  p. 

*  I  have  read  it  in  an  incunabu- 
lum  edition  numbered  lA.  49867 
in  the  British  Museum. 

*  Ibid.,  fols.  2iv-22r,  "Nos  Man- 
fredus  divi  augusti  imperatoris 
frederici  filius  dei  gratia  princeps 
tharentinus  honoris  montis  sarcti 

angeli  dominus  et  illustris  regis 
conradi  servi  in  regno  sicilie 
baiulus  .  .  .  quern  librum  cum 
non  inveniretur  inter  cristianos, 
quoniam  eum  in  ebrayco  legimus 
translatum  de  arabico  in  hebreum, 
sanitate  rehabita  ad  eruditionem 
multorum  et  de  hebrea  lingua 
transtulimus  in  latinam  in  quo  a 
compilatore  quedam  recitabilia  in- 



apple  from  which  the  treatise  takes  its  title,  is  represented 
as  telling  his  disciples  why  a  philosopher  need  not  fear  death 
and  repudiating  the  doctrines  of  the  mortality  of  the  soul 
and  eternity  of  the  universe.  He  also  tells  how  the  Creator 
made  the  spheres  and  placed  lucid  stars  in  each  and  gave 
them  the  virtue  of  ruling  over  this  inferior  world  and  caus- 
ing good  and  evil  and  life  or  death.  They  do  not,  however, 
do  this  of  themselves,  but  men  at  first  thought  so  and 
erroneously  worshiped  the  stars  until  the  time  of  Noah  who 
was  the  first  to  recognize  the  Creator  of  the  spheres.^ 

There  are  also  attributed  to  Aristotle  treatises  primarily 
astrological.  A  "Book  on  the  Properties  of  the  Elements 
and  of  the  Planets"  is  cited  under  his  name  by  Peter  of 
Abano  at  the  end  of  the  thirteenth  century  in  his  work  on 
poisons,^  by  Peter  d'Ailly  in  his  Vigintiloquium  ^  written 
in  1414,  and  by  Pico  della  Mirandola,  who  declares  it  spuri- 
ous, in  his  work  against  astrology  written  at  the  close  of 
the  fifteenth  century.  D'Ailly  and  Pico  cite  it  in  regard  to 
the  theory  of  great  conjunctions ;  Abano,  for  a  tale  of  Soc- 
rates and  two  dragons  which  we  shall  repeat  later.  It  is 
probable  that  all  these  citations  were  from  the  paraphrase 
of  and  commentary  on  the  work  by  Albertus  Magnus  ■*  who 
accepted  it  as  a  genuine  writing  of  Aristotle.  We  shall  con- 
sider its  contents  in  our  chapter  upon  Albertus  Magnus. 

In  a  manuscript  of  the  Cotton  collection  in  the  British 
Museum  is  a  work  of  some  length  upon  astrology  ascribed  to 
Aristotle.^  After  a  discussion  of  general  principles  in  which 
the  planets,  signs,  and  houses  are  treated,  there  are  separate 
books  upon  the  subjects  of  nativities,^  and  of  elections  and 

seruntur.  Nam  dictum  librum  aris- 
totiles  non  notavit  sed  notatus  ab 
aliis  extitit  qui  causam  hylaritatis 
sue  mortis  discere  voluerunt  sicut 
in  libri  serie  continetur." 

*  Edition  No.  lA.  49867  in  the 
British  Museum,  fols.  25v-26r. 

*  Cap.  4. 

'  Verbum  4. 

*Dc  causis  et  proprietatihus 
elementorum,  IX,  585-653  in  Bor- 
gnet's  edition  of   Albert's  works ; 

Albert  himself  in  his  treatise  on 
Minerals  cites  the  title  as  "Liber 
dc  causis  proprictatum  elemen- 
toruin  et  planctaruvi." 

"Cotton  Appendix  VI,  fol.  Br, 
"liber  iste  est  aristotelis  in  scien- 
tia  ipsius  astronomie." 

*Fol.  I IV,  "Alius  liber  de  na- 
tivitatibus" ;  opens,  "Superius 
prout  potuimus  promissorum  par- 
tem explevimus." 

Liber de 
tutn  ele- 
et  planc- 

cal trea- 
to  Aris- 



and  two 
and  fifty 
of  the 

interrogations.^  In  a  Paris  manuscript  a  treatise  on  inter- 
rogations is  ascribed  in  a  marginal  heading  to  "Aristoteles 
Milesius,  a  Peripatetic  physician."  -  In  the  Cotton  Manu- 
script in  commentaries  which  then  follow,  and  which  are 
labelled  as  commentaries  "upon  the  preceding  treatise" 
Ptolemy  is  mentioned  rather  than  Aristotle.^  In  an  astro- 
logical manuscript  of  the  fifteenth  century  at  Grenoble  writ- 
ten in  French,  works  of  Messahala  and  Zael  translated  for 
Charles  V  of  France  are  preceded  by  "a  book  of  judicial 
astrology  according  to  Aristotle,"  which  opens  with  "the 
preface  of  the  last  translator,"  and  is  in  four  parts.^  Per- 
haps both  the  above-mentioned  manuscripts  contain,  like  a 
third  manuscript  at  Munich,  "The  book  of  judgments  which 
is  said  by  Albert  in  his  Speculum  to  be  Aristotle's."  ^  This 
work  also  occurs  in  a  manuscript  at  Erfurt.^  Roger  Bacon 
was  much  impressed  by  an  astrological  treatise  ascribed  to 
Aristotle  entitled  De  impressionibus  coelestihiis,  and  told 
Pope  Clement  IV  that  it  was  "superior  to  the  entire  philoso- 
phy of  the  Latins  and  can  be  translated  by  your  order."  '^ 

A  treatise  found  in  two  manuscripts  of  the  Bodleian 
Library  bears  the  titles,  Commentary  of  Aristotle  on  As- 
trology, and  The  hook  of  Aristotle  from  two  hundred  and 
fifty-five  volumes  of  the  Indians,  containing  a  digest  of  all 
problems,  whether  pertaining  to  the  sphere  or  to  genethli- 

*  Fol.  I3r,  "De  electionibus  alius 
liber" ;  opens,  "Unde  constella- 
tionibus  egyptios  imitantes  nativi- 
tates  satis  dilucide  dixerimus." 
This  book  intermingles  the  sub- 
jects of  interrogations  and  elec- 
tions, and  ends  at  fpl.  20v,  "Finit 
liber  de  interrogationibus." 

'BN  16208,  fol.  76r-,  "liber 
arystotelis  milesii  medici  pery- 
pathetici  in  principiis  iudiciorum 
astronomorum  in  interrogationi- 

'  Cotton  Appendix  VI,  fol.  20v, 
"Incipit  commentum  super  prae- 
missa  scilicet  praedictum  librum" ; 
fol.  23V,  "Expositio  ad  litteram 
superioris  tractatus.  Ptolomaeus 
summus    philosophus    et   excellen- 

tissimus  egyptiorum  rex.  .  .  ." 

*  Grenoble  814,  fols.  1-24.  "Cy 
commence  le  livre  de  jugemens 
d'astrologie  selon  Aristote.  Le 
prologue  du  derrenier  translateur. 
Aristote  fist  un  livre  de  juge- 
mens. .  .  ." 

"CLM  25010,  i5-i6th  century, 
fols.  1-12,  "liber  de  iudiciis  qui  ab 
Alberto  in  Speculo  suo  dicitur  esse 

'  Amplon.  Quarto  377,  14th  cen- 
tury, fols.  25-36,  de  iudiciis  as- 
trorum.  Sebum  identifies  it  with 
the  work  ascribed  to  Aristotle  by 
Albert  in  the  Sfecuhim  astro- 

'Bridges  (1897),  I,  389-90; 
Brewer    (1859)    p.  473. 




aioqy}  From  the  text  itself  and  the  preface  of  Hugo  Sanc- 
telliensis,  the  twelfth  century  translator  from  Arabic  into 
Latin,  addressed  to  his  lord,  Michael,  bishop  of  Tarazona, 
we  see  that  the  work  is  neither  entirely  by  Aristotle  nor  from 
the  books  of  the  Indians  but  is  a  compilation  by  someone  who 
draws  or  pretends  to  draw  from  some  250  or  255  books  ^ 
of  the  philosophers,  including  in  addition  to  treatises  by 
both  Aristotle  and  the  Indians,  13  books  by  Hermes,  13  by 
Doronius  (Dorotheus?),  4  by  Ptolemy,  one  by  Democritus, 
two  by  Plato,  44  by  the  Babylonians,  7  by  Antiochus,  and 
others  by  authors  whose  names  are  unfamiliar  to  me  and 
probably  misspelled  in  the  manuscripts.  In  one  of  the 
works  of  Aristotle  of  which  the  present  work  is  supposed 
to  make  use,  there  are  said  to  have  been  described  the  na- 
tivities of  twelve  thousand  men,  collected  in  an  effort  to  es- 
tablish an  experimental  basis  for  astrology.^  It  is  not  so 
surprising  that  the  present  work  bears  Aristotle's  name,  since 
Hugh  had  promised  his  patron  Michael,  in  the  prologue  to 
his  translation  of  the  Geometry  of  Hanus  ben  Hanne,*  that 
if  life  endured  and  opportunity  was  given  he  would  next 
set  to  work  as  ordered  by  his  patron,  not  only  upon  Haly's 
commentaries  on  the  Quadripartite  and  Almagest  of  Ptol- 
emy, but  also  upon  a  certain  general  commentary  by  Aris- 
totle on  the  entire  art  of  astrology. 

The  Secret  of  Secrets  of  the  Pseudo-Aristotle  is  immedi- 
ately followed  in  one  manuscript  by  chapters  or  treatises  ad- 
dressed to  Alexander  and  entitled.  Of  ideas  and  forms,  Of 
the  impression  of  fortns,  and  Of  images  and  rings.^     The 

Works  on 
cal imasres. 

*Digby  159,  14th  century,  fpls. 
1-87,  mutilated  at  the  end.  "Liber 
Aristotilis  de  ducentis  Ivque  In- 
dorum  voluminibus,  universalium 
questionum  tarn  genecialium  quam 
circularium  summam  continens." 
At  fol.  5v,  "Explicit  prologus.  In- 
cipit  Aristotelis  commentum  in 
astrologiam."  This  is  the  MS 
which    I    have    chiefly    followed. 

Savile  Latin  15  (Bernard  6561), 
15th  century,  fols.  185-204V,  is 

'  In  the  text  the  number  is 
given  as  ccl ;  see  Digby  159,  fol. 

'  Digby  159,  fol.  2T. 

*  Savile   15,  fol.  205r. 

°  Bodleian  67  (Bernard  2136), 
14th  century,  fol.  54r,  De  ydeis  et 
formis;  fol.  S4v,  De  imprcssione 
formaruni;  fol.  56V,  De  ymagini- 
bus  et  annulis.  These  chapters  are 
sometimes  included  in  the  Secret 
of  Secrets,  as  in  Roger  Bacon's 
version;  Steele  (1920)  157-63.  But 


theory,  very  like  that  of  Alkindi,  is  maintained  that  "all 
forms  are  ruled  by  supercelestial  forms  through  the  spirits 
of  the  spheres"  and  that  incantations  and  images  receive 
their  force  from  the  spheres.  The  seven  planets  pass  on 
these  supercelestial  ideas  and  forms  to  our  inferior  world. 
By  selecting  proper  times  for  operating  one  can  work  good 
or  ill  by  means  of  the  rays  and  impressions  of  the  planets. 
The  scientific  investigator  who  properly  concentrates  and 
fixes  intent,  desire,  and  appetite  upon  the  desired  goal  can 
penetrate  hidden  secrets  of  secrets  and  occult  science  both 
universal  and  particular.  The  writer  goes  on  to  emphasize 
the  importance  of  understanding  all  the  different  positions 
and  relationships  of  the  heavenly  bodies  and  also  the  dis- 
tribution of  terrestrial  objects  under  the  planets.  He  then 
describes  an  astrological  image  which  will  cause  men  to  rev- 
erence and  obey  you,  will  repel  your  enemies  in  terror,  af- 
flict the  envious,  send  visions,  and  perform  other  marvel- 
ous and  stupefying  feats  too  numerous  to  mention. 

And  on  As  the  Specidum  astronomiae  of  Albertus  Magnus  listed 

necroman-        „,rrr  ia-i  i  •  ir 

tic  images,   a  Book  of  Judgments  by  Aristotle  among  deservmg  works  of 

astronomy  and  astrology,  so  in  its  list  of  evil  books  dealing 
with  necromantic  images  appear  a  treatise  by  Hermes  ad- 
dressed to  Aristotle  and  opening,  "Aristotle  said,  'You  have 
seen  me,  O  Hermes,'  "  and  a  treatise  ascribed  to  Aristotle 
with  the  sinister  title,  Death  of  the  Soul,  opening,  "Said 
Aristotle  to  King  Alexander,  Tf  you  want  to  perceive.'  " 
This  treatise  the  Speculum  calls  "the  worst  of  all"  the  evil 
books  on  images.  Roger  Bacon,  too,  alludes  to  it  by  title  as 
filled  with  figments  of  the  magicians,  but  does  not  name 
Aristotle  as  author.^  Peter  of  Abano  in  his  Lucidator  fol- 
lows the  Specultmt  astronomiae  in  listing  it  among  depraved, 
obscene,  and  detestable  works.^ 

"in  the  greater  part  of  the  Latin  cretis,  cap.  3. 

MSS     this     section     is     entirely  *  BN  2598,  fol.  loir,  "liber  quern 

omitted" ;  Ibid.,  Ixii.     Steele  does  Aristoteles  attribuit  Alexandre  et 

not  mention  Bodleian  67.  quem    nonnulli     mortis     intitulent 

*  Brewer   (1859)   p.  532,  De  se-  anime." 




Alexander  himself,  as  well  as  Aristotle,  had  some  me-  Alexander 
dieval  reputation  as  an  astrologer.  We  have  already  seen  ^  astrologer, 
in  the  tenth  and  eleventh  century  manuscripts  of  the  Mathe- 
matica  of  Alhandreus,  supreme  astrologer,  that  "Alexander 
of  Macedon"  was  more  than  once  cited  as  an  authority,  and 
that  there  were  also  given  "Excerpts  from  the  books  of 
Alexander,  astrologer,  king,"  and  a  "Letter  of  Argafalan  to 
Alexander."  Different  from  this,  moreover,  was  the 
Mathematica  of  Alexander,  supreme  astrologer,  found  in  a 
thirteenth  century  manuscript,  in  which  from  the  movements 
of  the  planets  through  the  signs  one  is  instructed  how  to 
foretell  prosperous  and  adverse  journeys,  abundance  and 
poverty,  misfortune  or  death  of  a  friend,  or  to  discover 
stolen  articles,  sorceries,  buried  treasure  and  so  forth.-  A 
treatise  on  seven  herbs  related  to  the  seven  planets  is  some- 
times ascribed  to  Alexander,^  but  perhaps  more  often  to 
Flaccus  Africanus,  as  we  saw  in  Chapter  46,  and  at  least 
once  to  Aristotle.* 

The  association  of  astrological  images  with  spirits  of   Aristotle 
the  spheres  in  one  of  the  above-mentioned  works  ascribed    ^pij-its. 
to  Aristotle  has  already  brought  us  to  the  border-line  of 
our  next  topic,  Aristotle  and  spirits.     Under  this  caption 
may  be  placed  a  work  found  in  a  fifteenth  century  manu- 

'  See  above,  I,  7i3-7i4- 

"Ashmole  369,  late  13th  cen- 
tury, fols.  77-84V,  "Mathematica 
Alexandri  summi  astrologi.  In 
exordio  omnis  creature  herus 
huranicus  inter  cuncta  sidera  xii 
maluit  signa  fore  /  nam  quod 
lineam  designat  eandem  stellam 
occupat.  Explicit."  Cap.  x,  de 
inveniendo  de  prospero  aut  ad- 
verso  itinere ;  xi,  de  copia  et  pau- 
pertate ;  xiv,  de  nece  aut  casu 
amici;  xvi,  de  latrocinio  invenien- 
do ;  xxiv,  de  pecunia  in  terra  de- 
fossa;  xxxviii,  de  noscendis  male- 

'  In  the  preface  to  the  Kiran- 
ides ;  in  Montpellier  277,  15th  cen- 
tury ;  and  in  Ashmole  1448,  15th 
century,     pp.     44-45,     "Virtutes    y 

herbarum  a  septem  planetis  se- 
cundum Alexandrum  Imperato- 
rem."  It  is  also  embodied  in  some 
editions  and  MSS  of  the  Liber 
aggregationis  or  Experimenta  at- 
tributed to  Albertus  Magnus  (see 
Chapter  62),  where  it  is  entitled, 
"Virtutes  herbarum  septem  se- 
cundum Alexandrum  Imperato- 

*  Ashmole  1741,  late  14th  cen- 
tury, fol.  143,  "Incipiunt  virtutes 
septem  herbarum  Aristotilis.  Et 
has  quidem  virtutes  habent  ipse 
septem  herbe  ab  influentia  7  plane- 
tarum.  Nam  contingit  unam- 
quamque  recipere  virtutem  suam 
a  superioribus  naturaliter.  Nam 
dicit  Aristotiles  quod  corpora  in- 
feriora  reguntur  per  superiora." 


script.^  It  also  is  in  part  astrological  and  is  associated  with 
the  name  of  Hermes  as  well  as  of  Aristotle.  Its  title  runs, 
The  book  of  the  spiritual  works  of  Aristotle,  or  the  book 
Antimaquis,  which  is  the  book  of  the  secrets  of  Hermes: 
wonderful  things  can  be  accomplished  by  means  of  this  book 
and  'tis  the  ancient  book  of  the  seven  planets.  The  treatise 
opens,  "To  every  people  and  clime  pertains  a  group  of 
spirits."  It  then  maps  out  these  regions  of  different  spirits 
in  accordance  with  the  planets  and  signs  of  the  zodiac. 
Apparently  this  is  the  same  work  as  that  which  Hunain  ibn 
Ishak  translated  into  Arabic  and  of  which  he  says,  "Among 
the  works  of  Aristotle  which  we  have  found  and  translated 
from  Greek  into  Arabic  was  The  book  of  the  Causes  of 
Spirituals  which  has  Hermes  for  author.  ...  It  is  the  book 
in  which  Aristotle  treats  of  the  causes  of  spirituals,  talis- 
mans, the  art  of  their  operation,  and  how  to  hinder  it,  or- 
dered after  the  seven  climates."^  It  was  probably  some 
such  spurious  work  that  William  of  Auvergne  had  in  mind 
when  he  spoke  of  Aristotle's  boast  that  a  spirit  had  de- 
scended unto  him  from  the  sphere  of  Venus. ^ 
On  No  genuine  work  of  Aristotle  on  vegetables  or  minerals 

ar^dthe  ^^^^  come  down  to  us  to  accompany  his  celebrated  History 
Lapidary,  of  Animals,  but  supposititious  writings  were  soon  found  by 
the  Arabs  to  fill  this  gap.  On  plants  a  brief  treatise  by 
Nicolaus  Damascenus  passed  for  Aristotle's.  Alfred  of 
Sarchel  translated  it  from  Arabic  into  Latin,"*  presumably 
before  the  close  of  the  twelfth  century,  since  he  dedicated  it 
to  Roger  of  Hereford,  and  Albertus  Magnus  expanded  its 
two  short  books  into  seven  long  ones  in  his  De  vegetabilibus 
et  plantis.  There  also  existed  in  Arabic  a  Lapidary  as- 
cribed to  Aristotle,^  which  we  have  heard  cited  in  the  ninth 

^  Sloane  3854,  15th  century,  fols.  seven     planets,     Venus,     and    the 

105V-110.  moon    mentioned    in    our   chapter 

'  L.  Blochet,  Etudes  sur  le  Gnos-  on  the  Hermetic  books. 

ticisme  musulman.  in  Rivista  degli  *  One  MS  is  Harleian  3487,  14th 

studi  orientali,  IV,  76.  century,  Jii. 

^  De  universo,  II,  ii,  39  and  98;  'V.  Rose,  Aristoteles  de  lapidi- 

II,    iii,   6.      I    presume   that   there  bus  und  Arnoldus  Saxo,  in  Zeit- 

is    some    connection   between    our  schrift  fiir   deutsches   Alterthutn, 

present  treatise  and  those  on  the  X'^''TII    (1875)    3^1  et  scq.     More 


century  by  Costa  ben  Luca.  Ruska  believes  the  work  to  be 
of  Syrian  and  Persian  origin/  although  one  Latin  text  pro- 
fesses to  have  been  originally  translated  from  Greek  into 
Syriac.^  Valentin  Rose  regarded  it  as  the  basis  of  all  sub- 
sequent Arabic  mineralog\%  but  found  only  two  Latin  manu- 
scripts of  it.^  Albertus  Magnus  in  his  Minerals  confesses 
that,  although  he  had  sought  diligently  in  divers  regions 
of  the  world,  he  had  seen  only  excerpts  from  Aristotle's 
work.  But  another  writer  of  the  thirteenth  century,  Arnold 
of  Saxony,  cites  translations  of  Aristotle  on  stones  both 
by  Dioscorides,  which  would  seem  sheer  nonsense,  and  by 
Gerard,  presumably  of  Cremona.  Gerard's  translation  oc- 
curs in  one  of  Rose's  manuscripts ;  the  other  seems  to  give 
a  version  translated  from  the  Hebrew. 

In  Gerard's  translation,  a  work  marked  by  puerile  Latin  Virtues 
style,  the  Lapidary  of  Aristotle  is  about  equally  devoted  to 
marvelous  properties  of  stones  and  tales  of  Alexander  the 
Great.  After  some  general  discussion  of  stones  and  their 
wonderful  properties,  particular  gems  are  taken  up.  The 
gesha  brings  misfortune.  Its  wearer  sleeps  poorly,  has  many 
worries,  many  altercations  and  law-suits.  If  it  is  hung 
about  a  boy's  neck,  it  makes  him  drivel.  "There  is  great 
occult  force"  in  the  magnet,  and  instructions  are  given  how 
to  set  water  on  fire  with  it.  Several  stones  possess  the 
property  of  neutralizing  spells  and  counteracting  the  work 
of  demons.     With  another  stone  the  Indians  make  many 

recently  the  Lapidary  of  Aristotle  fol.  127- ;  printed  by  Rose   (1875) 

has  been  edited  by  J.  Ruska,  Das  pp.  384-97. 

Steinbuch  dcs  Aristotelcs  .  .  .  nach  The  following  treatises,  also  as- 

der  arabischen  Handschrift,  Hei-  cribed  to  Aristotle,  I  have  not  ex- 

delberg,  1912,  who  gives  both  the  amined :     Sloane    2459,    15th   cen- 

Latin   of   the   Liege    MS   and   the  tury,  fols.  9V-16,  de  proprietatibus 

text  of  the  translation  into  Arabic  herbarum  et  lapidum;  Vienna  2301, 

by  Luca  ben   Serapion   from  BN  15th  century,  fols.  81-2,  "Isti  sunt 

2jy2,   with   a   German   translation  lapides     quorum     virtutes      misit 

of   it.  Aristotiles  in  scriptis  maximo  im- 

^  Ruska    (1912),  p.   43.  peratori  Alexandre."     Perhaps  the 

'  Ibid.,  p.  183,  "Et  ego  transf ero  last  may  have  reference  to  philoso- 

ipsum      ex      greco      sermone      in  pher's     stones,     like     the     similar 

ydyoma  su(r)orum  vel  Syrorum."  treatise  of  Aristotle  to  Alexander 

*  Liege  77,   14th  century ;   print-  noted  above  in  our  discussion  of 

ed  by   Rose    (1875)    pp.  349-82.  the  pseudo-Aristotelian  alchemical 

Montpellier    277,    15th    century,  treatises. 


incantations.  Vultures  were  the  first  to  discover  the  virtue 
of  the  stone  filcrum  coarton  in  hastening  dehvery.  When 
a  female  vulture  was  near  death  from  the  eggs  hardening 
in  her  body,  the  male  flew  off  to  India  and  brought  back 
this  stone  which  afforded  instant  relief.  Another  stone  is 
so  soporific  that  suspended  about  the  neck  it  induces  a  sleep 
lasting  three  days  and  nights,  and  the  effects  of  which  are 
thrown  off  with  difficulty  even  on  the  fourth  day,  when  the 
sleeper  will  awake  but  will  act  as  if  he  were  intoxicated 
and  will  still  seem  sleepier  than  anyone  else.  Another  stone 
prevents  a  horse  from  whinnying,  if  suspended  from  his 
Stories  of  Other  gems  suggest  stories  of  Alexander.     Near  the 

and^of  frontier  of  India  in  a  valley  guarded  by  deadly  serpents 
Socrates,  whose  mere  glance  was  fatal  were  many  precious  gems. 
Alexander  disposed  of  the  serpents  by  erecting  mirrors  in 
which  they  might  stare  themselves  to  death,  and  he  then 
secured  the  gems  by  employing  the  carcasses  of  sheep  in 
the  manner  which  we  have  already  heard  described  by  Epi- 
phanius.'^  A  somewhat  similar  tale  is  told  of  Socrates  by 
Albertus  Magnus  in  his  commentary  on  the  pseudo-Aris- 
totelian work  on  the  properties  of  the  elements  and  planets.^ 
In  the  reign  of  Philip  of  Macedon,  who  is  himself  described 
as  a  philosopher  and  astronomer,  the  road  between  two 
mountains  in  Armenia  became  so  poisoned  that  no  one  could 
pass.  Philip  vainly  inquired  the  cause  from  his  sages  until 
Socrates  came  to  the  rescue  and,  by  erecting  a  tower  as 
high  as  the  mountains  with  a  steel  mirror  on  top  of  it,  saw 
two  dragons  polluting  the  air.  The  mere  glance  of  these 
dragons  was  apparently  not  deadly,  for  men  in  air-tight 
armor  went  in  and  killed  them.  The  same  story  is  told  by 
William  of  St.  Cloud,  who  composed  astronomical  tables 
based  upon  his  own  observations  from  about  1285  to  1321, 
in  which  he  detected  errors  in  the  earlier  tables  of  Thebit, 
Toulouse,  and  Toledo.'     In  Peter  of  Abano's  treatise  on 

*  See  above  chapter  21,   I,  496.        II,  ii,  i    (Borgnet,  IX  643). 
'  De    causis    elementorum,    etc.,         *  HL  XXV,  65, 


ixjisons/  however,  although  he  too  cites  the  Pseudo- Aristotle 
On  the  causes  of  the  elements,  the  mirror  has  become  a  glass 
cave  in  which  Socrates  ensconces  himself  to  observe  the 
serpents.  A  Lapidary  dedicated  to  King  Wenzel  II  of  Bo- 
hemia tells  of  Socrates'  killing  a  dragon  by  use  of  quick- 
silver.- That  Socrates  also  shared  the  medieval  reputation 
of  Aristotle  and  Plato  for  astrology  and  divination  we  have 
already  seen  from  the  Prenostica  Socratis  Basilei. 

Similar  to  Abano's  tale  of  Socrates  in  the  glass  cave  is  Alex- 
the  story  told  a  century  earlier  by  Alexander  Neckam  of  ^"der's 
Alexander  himself.  So  sedulous  an  investigator  of  nature  marine, 
was  the  Macedonian,  says  Neckam,  that  he  went  down  in  a 
glass  vessel  to  observe  the  natures  and  customs  of  the  fishes. 
He  would  seem  to  have  remained  submerged  for  some  time, 
since  Neckam  informs  us  that  he  took  a  cock  with  him  in 
order  to  tell  when  it  was  dawn  by  the  bird's  crowing.  This 
primitive  submarine  had  at  least  a  suggestion  of  war  about 
it,  since  Neckam  goes  on  to  say  that  Alexander  learned  how 
to  lay  ambushes  against  the  foe  by  observing  one  army  of 
fishes  attack  another.  Unfortunately,  however,  Alexander 
failed  to  commit  to  writing  his  observations,  whether  mili- 
tary or  scientific,  of  deep-sea  hfe;  and  Neckam  grieves  that 
very  few  data  on  the  natures  of  fishes  have  come  to  his  at- 
tention.^ We  shall  hear  Roger  Bacon  tell  of  Alexander's 
descending  to  see  the  secrets  of  the  deep  on  the  authority  of 

^  De    venenis,    cap.    5,    probably  Des  nefs  ke  sont  apelces  colifas:  a 

written  in  1316,  but  see  chapter  70,  similar  ship  in  the  water,  no  one 

appendix  vi.           _  visible    in    it;    Coment   Alisandre 

'  Aristotle,   Lapidarius  et   Liber  encercha    la    nature    de    pessons; 

de  physionoviia,  Merseburg,   1473,  Alexander    and    two    men    in    the 

p.   8.  ship,    fish    and    mermaid    below." 

^  De  natiiris  rerum,   II,  21.     In  I   have  quoted  James'  description 

an  illustrated  13th  century  MS  of  of  the  MS    (III,  488). 

the  vernacular  Romance  of  Alex-  See   also    Lacroix,   Science   and 

ander  three   pictures  are  devoted  Literature    in    tlie    Middle    Ages, 

to    his    submarine.       CU    Trinity  1878,  Fig.  87,  p.  119,  for  Alexander 

1446,    1250   A.    D.,    fol.   27r,    "Co-  descending  to  the   bottom   of  the 

ment    Alisandre    vesqui    sue    les  sea  in  a  glass  cask,  from  a  thir- 

ezves:   a   covered    ship   with   win-  teenth  century  MS,  Brussels  11040. 

dows  under  green  water,  Alexan-  '  See  chapter  61,  pp.  654-5, 
der  and  three  men  in  it ;  fol.  27V, 



tales  of 

A  magic 

Neckam's  account  differs  a  good  deal  from  the  story  as 
told  by  the  Arabian  historian,  Mas'udi,  in  the  tenth  century. 
There  we  read  that,  when  Alexander  was  building  the  city 
of  Alexandria,  monsters  came  from  the  sea  every  night  and 
overthrew  the  walls  that  had  been  built  during  the  day. 
Night  watchmen  proved  of  no  avail,  so  Alexander  had  a 
box  made  ten  cubits  long  and  five  wide,  with  glass  sides  fas- 
tened into  the  frame  work  by  means  of  pitch  and  resin.  He 
then  entered  the  box  with  two  draughtsmen,  who,  after  it 
had  been  let  down  to  the  bottom  of  the  sea,  made  exact  draw- 
ings of  the  monsters,  who  had  human  bodies  but  the  heads 
of  beasts.  From  these  sketches  Alexander  had  images  con- 
structed and  placed  on  pillars,  and  these  magic  figures  served 
to  keep  off  the  monsters  until  the  city  was  completed.  But 
the  effect  apparently  began  to  wear  off  and  talismans  had 
to  be  added  on  the  pillars  to  prevent  the  monsters  from 
coming  and  devouring  the  inhabitants,  as  they  had  begun 
to  do  again. ^  Another  Arab,  Abu-Shaker,  of  the  thirteenth 
century,  repeats  a  current  tradition  that  Aristotle  gave  Alex- 
ander a  box  of  wax  soldiers  which  were  nailed,  with  in- 
verted spears  and  swords  and  severed  bow-strings,  face- 
downwards  in  the  box,  which  in  its  turn  was  fastened  by  a 
chain.  As  long  as  the  box  remained  in  Alexander's  pos- 
session and  he  repeated  the  formulae  which  Aristotle  ta.ught 
him  whenever  he  took  the  box  up  or  put  it  down,  he  would 
triumph  over  his  foes  in  war.^  This  reminds  one  of  the 
methods  of  warfare  employed  by  Alexander's  fabled  natu- 
ral father,  Nectanebus, 

While  we  are  speaking  of  military  matters,  it  may  be 
noted  that  in  a  manuscript  of  the  thirteenth  century  which 
once  belonged  to  an  Albertus  Bohemus  or  Beham,  dean  of 
the  church  at  Padua,  and  seems  to  have  been  his  note-book, 
we  find  between  the  Secret  of  Secrets  of  the  Pseudo-Aris- 
totle and  a  treatise  on  the  significations  of  the  moon  in  the 
signs  "a  delineation  of  a  brazen  horn  made  with  marvelous 

'Budge,   Egyptian   Magic,   1899,      de  Courteille,  1861,  II,  425ff. 
pp.    152-6;    Mas'udi,   Les  Prairies         *  Budge   (1899),  pp.  95-6. 
d'Or.  ed.  B.  de  Maynard  and  Pavet 




stories  of 

art  by  which  Alexander  in  time  of  war  summoned  his  army 
from  a  distance  of  sixty  miles."  ^  Such  a  horn  "of  Temis- 
tius"  is  mentioned  in  some  versions  of  the  Secret  of  Secrets.'^ 

But  to  return  to  other  tales  of  Alexander  in  the  Lapidary. 
Once  he  saw  afar  enchanters  and  enchantresses  who  slew 
and  wounded  the  men  of  his  army  by  their  diabolical  power  and  gems 
until  Alexander  prayed  to  God,  who  revealed  two  stones 
which  counteracted  the  sorcery.  On  another  occasion  when 
by  Alexander's  order  his  barons  had  carried  off  certain  gems, 
during  the  night  following  they  suffered  much  insult  from 
demons  and  were  sore  afraid,  since  sticks  and  stones  were 
thrown  about  the  camp  by  unseen  hands  and  men  were 
beaten  without  knowing  whence  the  blows  came.  It  thus 
became  apparent  that  the  demons  cherished  those  gems  as 
their  especial  property  and  were  accustomed  to  perform  oc- 
cult operations  with  them  of  which  they  did  not  wish  men 
to  learn  the  secret.  Alexander  found  that  these  gems  would 
protect  him  from  any  beast,  serpent,  or  demon,  although  the 
nocturnal  experience  of  his  barons  would  scarcely  seem  to 
support  this  last  point.  On  a  third  occasion  his  troops  were 
held  motionless  and  gazed  open-mouthed  at  certain  stones, 
until  a  bird  fluttered  down  and  covered  the  gems  with  its 
outstretched  wings.  Then  Alexander  had  his  followers  close 
their  eyes  and  carry  the  stones  away  under  cover  and  place 
them  on  top  of  the  wall  of  one  of  his  cities  so  that  no  one 
might  scale  the  wall  to  spy  upon  the  town. 

Yet  another  curious  story  of  Alexander  and  a  stone  is 
repeated  by  Peter  of  Abano  in  his  work  on  poisons  ^  from 
a  treatise  "On  the  Nature  of  Serpents"  which  he  ascribes 
to  Aristotle.  Alexander  always  wore  a  certain  stone  in 
his  belt  to  give  him  good  luck  in  his  battles,  but  on  his  re- 
turn  from  India,  while  bathing  in  the  Euphrates,  he   re- 

*  CLM  2574b,  bombyc.  13th  cen-      picted  (reproduced  in  plate  151  of 
tury,    fol.    69V.      Although    Steel©      the  Roxburghe  Club  publication  of 

1914).      There    are     drawings 

of  Alex 

(1920)  p.  Iviii,  says,  "No  Latin 
manuscript  is  known  in  which 
there  is  a  figure  of  the  horn,  with 
the  exception  of  that  in  Holkam 
Hall,  in  the  borders  of  which  an 
entirely  fanciful  instrument  is  de- 

There  are  drawings  m 
MSS  C  and  D  of  the  Eastern 
Arabic  text,  of  entirely  different 

'Steele  (1920),  p.  151. 

'Cap.  5. 



The  royal 
of  Wenzel 
II  of 

mancy and 
nomy of 

moved  the  belt,  whereupon  a  serpent  suddenly  appeared,  bit 
the  stone  out  of  the  belt,  and  vomited  it  into  the  river.  De- 
prived of  his  talisman,  Alexander  presently  met  his  death.^ 

Another  Lapidary,  printed  as  Aristotle's  at  Merseburg 
in  1473,  is  really  a  compilation  of  previous  medieval  works 
on  the  subject  with  the  addition  of  some  items  derived  from 
the  personal  knowledge  or  experience  of  the  author.  It  was 
composed  "to  the  honor  of  almighty  God  and  the  glory  and 
perpetual  memory  of  that  virtuous  and  most  glorious  prince, 
Wenzel  II,  King  of  Bohemia"  (1278-1305).  As  the  trea- 
tise itself  states,  "the  Lapidary  of  Aristotle  in  the  recent 
translation  from  the  Greek"  is  only  one  of  its  sources  along 
with  Avicenna,  Constantinus  Africanus,  Albertus  Magnus, 
and  others. 

Another  work  which  claims  Aristotelian  authorship  only 
in  its  title  is  the  Chiromancy  of  Aristotle,  printed  at  Ulm  in 
1490,  which  quotes  freely  from  Albertus  Magnus  and  Avi- 
cenna. There  are  also  brief  tracts  on  chiromancy  ascribed 
to  Aristotle  in  manuscripts  of  the  thirteenth  or  fourteenth 
century.-  Forster  has  identified  Polemon  as  the  author  of 
the  Greek  treatise  on  physiognomy  ascribed  to  Aristotle.^ 
The  art  of  physiognomy  of  course  professed  to  read  char- 
acter from  the  face  or  other  parts  of  the  body,  and  chiro- 
mancy which  we  have  just  mentioned  is  really  a  branch  of  it. 
In  Latin  translation  the  treatise  was  accepted  as  Aristotle's 

'  Very  similar  is  the  story  in  the 
Gilgamesh  epic,  a  work  "far  more 
ancient  than  Genesis,"  of  a  ser- 
pent stealing  a  life-giving  plant 
from  Gilgamesh  while  he  was 
bathing  in  a  well  or  brook.  The 
plant,  which  had  been  revealed 
to  Gilgamesh  by  the  deified  Ut- 
napishtim,  "had  the  miraculous 
power  of  renewing  youth  and  bore 
the  name,  'the  old  man  becomes 
young.' "  Sir  James  Frazer 
(1918),  I,  50-51,  follows  Rabbi 
Julian  Morgenstern  ("On  Gilga- 
mesh Epic,  XI,  274-320,"  in  Zrft- 
schrift  f.  Assyriologie,  XXIX, 
1915,  p.  284ff)  in  connecting  this 
incident  with  the  serpent  and  the 

tree  of  life  in  the  Biblical  account 
of  the  fall  of  man,  and  gives  fur- 
ther examples  from  primitive 
folk-lore  of  other  jealous  animals, 
such  as  the  dog,  frog,  duck,  and 
lizard,  perverting  divine  gifts  or 
good  tidings  to  man  to  their  own 

'  Sloane  2030,  fols.  125-26;  Ad- 
ditional 15236,  fols.  154-60:  BN, 
74.?oA    (14th  century)   S16. 

'Richard  Forster,  Dc  Aristoielis 
quae  feruntur  physiognomonicis 
recensendis,  Kiliae,  1882 ;  De 
translat.  latin.  physiognom., 
Kiliae,  1884;  Scriptores  Physiog- 
nomici,  Lipsiae,   1893- 1894. 


by  such  medieval  schoolmen  as  Albertus  Magnus  and  Duns 
Scotus.  There  are  many  manuscripts  of  it  in  the  British 
Museum,  including  one  which  perhaps  dates  back  to  the 
twelfth  century.^  Its  popularity  continued  long  after  the 
invention  of  printing,  as  is  shown  by  separate  editions  of  it 
brought  out  at  Paris  in  1535  and  at  Wittenberg  in  1538, 
and  by  commentaries  upon  it  -  published  at  Paris  in  161 1,  at 
Bologna  in  1621,  and  at  Toulouse  in  1636.  Besides  such 
separate  manuscripts  and  editions  of  it,  it  was  also  regu- 
larly embodied  in  the  numerous  copies  of  the  pseudo- Aris- 
totelian work  to  which  we  next  turn. 

Most  widely  influential  upon  the  medieval  mind  of  all  The 
the  spurious  works  attributed  to  Aristotle  was  The  Secret  Secrets 
of  Secrets.  Forster  enumerated  two  hundred  and  seven 
Latin  manuscripts  of  it  and  his  list  is  probably  far  from 
complete.^  Gaster  calls  it  "The  most  popular  book  of  the 
middle  ages."  *  This  is  not  surprising  since  it  purports  to 
sum  up  in  concise  form  what  the  greatest  of  ancient  philoso- 
phers deemed  it  essential  for  the  greatest  of  ancient  rulers 
to  know,  and  since  under  the  alluring  pretense  of  revealing 
great  secrets  in  parable  and  riddle  it  really  masses  together 
a  number  of  the  best-tested  and  most  often  repeated  maxims 
of  personal  hygiene  and  practical  philosophy,  and  some  of 
the  superstitions  to  which  men  have  shown  themselves  most 
inclined.  Every  European  library  of  consequence  contains 
a  number  of  copies  of  it.  It  was  translated  into  almost  every 
European  language  and  was  often  versified,  as  in  Lydgate's 

^  Cotton  Julius  D-viii,  f ol.  I26ff. ;  feruntur  secreta  secretorum  Com- 

Harleian      3969;      Egerton      847;  mcntatio,     Kiliae,      1888;     Hand- 

Sloane    2030,    fol.    95-103;    Addi-  schriften      und      Ausgaben       des 

tional    15236,    fol.    160    (in   abbre-  pseudo-aristotelischcn       Secretutn 

viated   form)  ;    Sloane   3281,    fols.  secretorum,  in  Centralblatt  f.  Bib- 

19-23;  Sloane  3584;  Egerton  2852,  liothckivescn,  VI   (1889),  1-22,  57- 

fol.  115V,  et  seq.  76.     And   see  Steele    (1920). 

*  There  is  a  manuscript  copy  of  *  M.  Gaster,  in  his  "Introduction 

a  commentary  on  it  of  the   four-  to  a  Hebrew  version  of  the  Secret 

teenth  century  at  Erfurt,  Amplon.  of  Secrets,"  in  the  Journal  of  the 

Quarto    186.      See    Schum's    cata-  Royal  Asiatic  Society   (1908,  part 

logue    for    MSS    of    the    Physio-  2),  pp.    1065-84;    for  the  Hebrew 

gnomia    itself    in    the    Amplonian  text   and    an    English    translation, 

collection.  Ibid.      (1907),     pp.     879-913     and 

'  R.  Forster,  De  Aristotelis  quae  (1908,  part  i),  pp.  11 1-62. 






and  Burgh's  Secrees  of  old  Philisoffres}  Albertus  Magnus 
cited  it  as  Aristotle's;  -  Roger  Bacon  wrote  a  rather  jejune 
commentary  upon  it.^  It  was  printed  a  number  of  times 
before  1500.^ 

The  Secrets  of  Secrets  is  beheved  to  be  the  outcome  of  a 
gradual  process  of  compilation  from  very  varied  sources, 
and  to  have  reached  something  like  its  present  form  by  the 
seventh  or  eighth  century  of  our  era.  But  its  chapters  on 
physiognomy,  as  we  have  seen,  go  back  to  Polemon's  trea- 
tise, and  part  of  its  medical  discussion  is  said  to  be  bor- 
rowed from  Diodes  Caristes  who  wrote  about  320  B.  C. 
Some  Graeco-Persian  treatise  is  thought  to  be  the  basis  of 
its  discussion  of  kingship.  It  is  also  believed  to  have 
appropriated  bits  from  popular  literature  to  its  own  uses. 
In  Arabic  there  is  extant  both  a  longer  and  a  shorter  ver- 
sion, and  Gaster  has  edited  a  Hebrew  text  which  is  appar- 

'Ed.  Robert  Steele,  EETS, 
LXVI,  London,  1894.  Volume 
LXXIV  contains  three  earlier 
English  versions.  There  are  nu- 
merous MSS  of  it  in  Italian  in  the 
Riccardian  and  Palatini  collec- 
tions   at    Florence. 

^  De  Somno  et  vigilia,  I,  ii,  7- 

^Tanner  116,  13th  century; 
Corpus  Christi  149,  15th  century. 
Recently  edited  by  Robert  Steele, 
1920,  as  Ease.  V  of  his  Opera  hac- 
tenus  inedita  Rogeri  Baconi. 

*  There  are  considerable  dis- 
crepancies between  the  different 
early  printed  editions,  which  differ 
in  length,  order  of  arrangement, 
tables  of  contents,  and  number  of 
chapters.  And  in  the  same  edi- 
tion the  chapter  headings  given 
in  the  course  of  the  text  may  not 
agree  with  those  in  the  table  of 
contents,  which  as  a  rule,  even  in 
the  MSS,  does  not  fully  cover  the 
subject-matter  of  the  text.  The 
different  printers  have  probably 
used  different  manuscripts  for 
their  editions  rather  than  made 
any  new  additions  of  their  own. 
The  following  editions  are  those 
to  which  references  will  be  made 
in  the  following  pages. 

An  edition  printed  at  Cologne 
about  1480,  which  I  examined  at 
the  Harvard  University  Library, 
divides  the  text  into  only  thirty 
chapters  and  seems  imperfect. 

An  edition  of  about  1485,  which 
I  examined  at  the  British  A'lu- 
seum,  where  it  was  numbered 
I  A.  10756,  has  74  chapters,  and  the 
headings  of  its  25th  and  30th 
chapters,  for  instance,  agree  with 
those  of  the  nth  and  13th  chap- 
ters in  the  Harvard  copy. 

A  third  edition  of  Paris,  1520, 
has  no  numbered  chapters  and 
contains  passages  not  found  in 
the  two  earlier  editions. 

As  a  check  upon  these  printed 
texts  I  have  examined  the  three 
following  MSS,  two  of  the  13th, 
and  one  of  the  14th,  century.  Of 
these  Egerton  2676  corresponds 
fairly  closely  throughout  to  the 
edition  numbered  I  A.  10756  in  the 
British  Museum. 

Egerton  2676,  13th  century,  fols. 

BN  6584,  13th  century,  fols.  ir- 

Bodleian  67,  14th  century,  fols. 
1-53V,  is  much  like  the  preceding 


ently  derived  from  an  Arabic  original  different  from  that 
of  any  Latin  text.     The  process  of  successive  compilation,, 
or  at  least,  re-editing  and   repeated  translation  which  the 
work  underwent  is  suggested  by  a  series  of  prologues  which 
occur  at  the  beginning.     Following  the  preface  of  the  Latin 
translator  and  the  table  of  contents  comes  what  is  called  "the 
prologue  of  a  certain  doctor  in  commendation  of  Aristotle,"  ^ 
in  which  omnipotent  God  is  prayed  to  guard  the  king  and 
some  anonymous  editor  states  that  he  has  executed  the  man- 
date enjoined  upon  him  to  procure  the  moral  work  on  royal 
conduct  called  Tlie  Secret  of  Secrets,  which  Aristotle,  chief 
of  philosophers,  composed.   After  some  talk  about  Aristotle 
and  Alexander  a  second  prologue  begins  with  the  sentence, 
"John  who  translated  this  book,  son  of  a  patrician,  most  skil- 
ful and  faithful  interpreter  of  languages,  says."    This  John 
appears  to  have  been  Yuhanna  ibn  el-Batrik,  or  Ibn  Yahya 
al-Batrik,  who  died  in  815  A.  D.^    What  he  says  is  that  he 
searched  the  world  over  until  he  came  to  an  oracle  of  the 
sun  which  Esculapides  had  constructed.     There  he  found  a 
solitary  abstemious  sage  who  presented  him  with  this  book 
which  he  translated  from  Greek  into  Chaldaic  and  thence 
into  Arabic.     This  passage  reminds  one  of  Harpocration's 
prefatory  remarks  to  his  daughter  in  the  Kiranides;  indeed, 
it  is  quite  in  the  usual  style  of  apocryphal  writings. 

In  the  matter  of  the  Latin  translation  we  are  on  some-    The  Latin 
what  more  certain  ground.    John  of  Spain  in  the  first  half    J-^ns  ^f 
of  the  twelfth  century  seems  to  have  translated  only  the   John  of 
medical  portion.^    Manuscripts  of  this  partial  translation  are    phiiip. 

^  BN  6584,  fol.  IV,  "De  prologo  custodiat  regem.  .  .  ." 

cuiusdam   doctoris   in  commenda-  'Steele    (1920),  p.  xi. 

tione  aristotelis."     See  also  Digby  ^  Steinschneider    (1905),    p.    42, 

228,  14th  century,  fol.  27,  where  a  it  is  true,  says,  "Ob  Job.  selbst  das 

scribe    has    written    in    the    upper  ganze  Secretum  iibersetzt  habe,  ist 

margin,     "In     isto     libello     primo  noch  nicht  ermittelt" ;  but  the  f  ol- 

ponitur    prologus,     deinde    tabula  lowing  passage,   cited   by   Giacosa 

contentorum  in   libro,  deinde  pro-  ( 1901),  p.  386,  from  Bibl.  Angelica 

logus   cuiusdam  doctoris   in   com-  Rome,    Cod.    1481,    12th    century, 

mendacionem     Aristotilis,     deinde  fols.    144-146V,    indicates    that    he 

prologus    lohannis    qui    transtulit  translated   only   the   medical   part. 

librum     istum.  .  .  ."  In      Egerton  "Cum  de  utilitate  corporis  olim 

2676,    fol.    6r,    "Deus    omnipotens  tractarim    et    a    me    quasi    essem 



relatively  few/  and  it  was  presently  superseded  by  the  com- 
plete translation  made  either  in  the  twelfth  or  early  thir- 
teenth century  "  by  Philip,  "the  least  of  his  clerics"  for  "his 
most  excellent  lord,  most  strenuous  in  the  cult  of  the  Chris- 
tian religion,  Guido  of  Valencia,  glorious  pontiff  of  the  city 
of  Tripoli."  Philip  goes  on  to  say  in  his  dedicatory  preface 
that  it  was  when  he  was  with  Guido  in  Antioch  that  they 
found  "this  pearl  of  philosophy,  .  .  .  this  book  which  con- 
tains something  useful  about  almost  every  science,"  and 
which  it  pleased  Guido  to  have  translated  from  Arabic  into 
Latin.  Although  the  various  printed  editions  and  manu- 
scripts of  The  Secret  of  Secrets  in  Latin  vary  considerably, 
they  regularly  are  preceded  by  this  ascription  of  the  Latin 
translation  to  Philip,  and  usually  by  the  other  prologues 
afore-mentioned.  Who  this  Philip  w^as,  other  than  a  cleric 
of  Tripoli,  is  still  undetermined.  If  he  was  the  same  as  the 
papal  physician  whom  Alexander  III  in  1177  proposed  to 
send  on  a  mission  to  Prester  John,^  he  had  probably  made 
his  translation  before  that  date.  J.  Wood  Brown  would 
identify  him  with  Philip  of  Salerno,  a  royal  notary  whose 
name  appears  in  1200  on  deeds  in  the  kingdom  of  Sicily.^ 

medicus  vestra  nobilitas  quereret 
ut  brevem  libellum  et  de  obser- 
vatione  diete  et  de  continentia 
cordis  in  qualibus  se  debent  con- 
tineri  qui  sanitatem  corporis 
cupiunt  servare  accidit  ut  dum 
cogitarem  vestre  iussioni  obedire 
huius  rei  exempliar  aristotelis 
philosophi  Alexandre  dictum  re- 
pente  in  mente  occurreret  quod 
excerpi  de  libro  qui  arabice  vo- 
catur  ciralacerar  id  est  secretum 
secretorum  que  fecit  fieri  predic- 
tus  Aristotelis  philosophus  Alex- 
andre regi  magno  de  dispositione 
regni  in  quo  continentur  multa 
regibus  utilia.  .  .  ." 

Steele  (1920)  pp.  xvii-xviii, 
gives  the  same  passage,  worded 
and  spelled  a  little  differently, 
from   another    MS,   Addit.   26770. 

^  Ed.  H.  Souchier,  Denkm'dlcr 
provenzal.  Lit.  u.  Sprache,  Halle, 
188.^,  I,  473  et  seq. 

'  Thirteenth     century     MSS     of 

Philip's  translation  are  numerous ; 
I  have  not  noted  a  12th  century 

^  See  above,  chapter  47,  p.  244. 

*  Brown  (1897),  pp.  19-20,  36-7. 
But  not  much  reliance  can  be 
placed  on  the  inclusion  of  this 
name,  "Master  Philip  of  Tripoli," 
in  a  title  which  Brown  (p.  20) 
quotes  from  a  De  Rossi  MS,  "The 
Book  of  the  Inspections  of  Urine 
according  to  the  opinion  of  the 
Masters,  Peter  of  Berenice,  Con- 
stantine  Damascenus,  and  Julius 
of  Salerno;  which  was  composed 
by  command  of  the  Emperor 
Frederick,  Anno  Domini  1212,  in 
the  month  of  February,  and  was 
revised  by  Master  PhiHp  of  Trip- 
oli and  Master  Gerard  of  Cre- 
mona at  the  orders  of  the  King  of 
Spain,"  etc.,  since  Gerard  of 
Cremona  at  least  had  died  in 
1 187  and  there  was  no  "king  of 
Spain"  until  1479. 


I   have  already  suggested  that  possibly  he   translated   the 

Returning  to  Philip's  preface  to  Guido,  it  may  be  noted  Philip's 
that  he  states  that  Latins  do  not  have  the  work,  and  that  it  is 
rare  among  the  Arabs. ^  His  translation  is  a  free  one  since 
the  Arabic  idiom  is  different  from  the  Latin.  Aristotle 
wrote  this  book  in  response  to  the  petition  of  King  Alex- 
ander his  disciple  who  demanded  that  Aristotle  should  either 
come  to  him  or  faithfully  reveal  the  secrets  of  certain  arts, 
namely,  the  motion,  operation,  and  power  of  the  stars  in 
astronomy,  the  art  of  alchemy,  the  art  of  knowing  natures 
and  working  enchantments,  and  the  art  of  geomancy.  Aris- 
totle was  too  old  to  come  in  person,  and  although  it  had  been 
his  intention  to  conceal  in  every  way  the  secrets  of  the  said 
sciences,  yet  he  did  not  venture  to  contradict  the  will  and 
command  of  so  great  a  lord.  He  hid  some  matters,  how- 
ever, under  enigmas  and  figurative  locutions.  For  Alex- 
ander's convenience  he  divided  the  work  into  ten  books, 
each  of  which  is  divided  into  chapters  and  headings.  Philip 
adds  that  for  his  readers'  convenience  he  has  collected 
these  headings  at  the  beginning  of  the  work,  and  a  table  of 
contents    follows.^     Then  come   the  two  older   prologues 

Brown  does  not  give  the  Latin  Philip's  preface  is  omitted  in  the 
for  the  passage,  but  if  the  date  Harvard  edition. 
1212  could  be  regarded  as  Spanish  *  The  preliminary  table  of  con- 
era  and  turned  into  1174  A.  D.,  tents,  however,  gives  only  chapter 
Gerard  of  Cremona  would  still  be  headings,  which  in  BN  6584  are 
living,  the  emperor  would  be  82  in  number,  but  the  beginnings 
Frederick  Barbarossa  instead  of  of  the  ten  books  are  indicated  in 
Frederick  II,  and  Master  Philip  the  text  in  BN  6584  as  follows, 
of  Tripoli  might  be  the  same  The  numbers  in  parentheses  are 
Philip  whom  Pope  Alexander  III  the  corresponding  leaves  in  Bod- 
proposed  to  send  to  Prester  John  leian  67  which,  however,  omits 
in  1 177.  mention  of  the  book  and  its  num- 

Steele  (1920)  p.  xix,  inclines  to  ber    except    in    the    case    of    the 

identify  Philip  of  Tripoli  with  a  fourth  book. 

canon    of    Byblos    from    1243    to  Fol.  3v    (sr),  Incipit  liber  pri- 

1248.  but  that  seems  to  me  too  late  mus.     Epistola  ad  Alexandrum. 

a  date  for  his  translation  of  The  Fol.  6r,  Secundus  liber  de  dis- 

Sccrct  of  Secrets.  positione     Regali     et     reverentia 

'BN  6584,    fol.    ir,    "Hunc   lib-  Regis, 

rum  quo  carebant  latini  eo  quod  Fol.  I2r  (i8v),  Incipit  liber  ter- 

apud    paucissimos    arabies    reperi-  tius.    Cum  hoc  corpus  corruptibile 

tur    transtuli    cum    magno    labore  sit   eique   accidit   corruptio.  .  .  . 

..."  A    considerable    portion    of  Fol.    22r     (36r),    Incipit    liber 



nence of 

of  mys- 

of  king- 

which  we  have  already  described,  next  a  letter  of  Aristotle 
to  Alexander  on  the  extrinsic  and  intrinsic  causes  of  his 
work/  and  then  with  a  chapter  which  is  usually  headed 
Distinctio  regiini  or  Reges  sunt  quatuor  begins  the  discus- 
sion of  kingship  which  is  the  backbone  of  the  work. 

It  is  evident  from  Philip's  preface  that  occult  science  also 
forms  a  leading  feature  in  the  work  as  known  to  him.  Cas- 
ter, who  contended  that  the  Hebrew  translation  from  the 
Arabic  which  he  edited  was  as  old  as  either  John  of  Spain's 
or  Philip's  Latin  translations,  although  the  oldest  of  the 
four  manuscripts  which  he  collated  for  his  text  is  dated 
only  in  1382  A.  D.,  made  a  rather  misleading  statement 
when  he  affirmed,  "Of  the  astrology  looming  so  largely  in 
the  later  European  recensions  the  Hebrew  has  only  a  faint 
trace."  ^  As  a  matter  of  fact  some  of  the  printed  editions 
contain  less  astrology  than  the  thirteenth  century  manu- 
scripts, while  Caster's  Hebrew  version  has  much  more  than 
"a  faint  trace"  of  astrology.     But  more  of  this  later. 

On  the  other  hand,  I  cannot  fully  subscribe  to  Stein- 
schneider's  characterization  of  The  Secret  of  Secrets  as  "a 
wretched  compilation  of  philosophical  mysticism  and  varied 
superstition."  ^  Of  superstition  there  is  a  great  deal,  but  of 
philosophical  mysticism  there  is  practically  none.  Despite 
the  title  and  the  promise  in  Philip's  preface  of  enigmatic 
and  figurative  language,  the  tone  of  the  text  is  seldom  mys- 
tical, and  its  philosophy  is  of  a  very  practical  sort. 

Nor  can  The  Secret  of  Secrets  be  dismissed  as  merely  "a 
wretched   compilation."     Those   portions   which   deal    with 

quartus.  transtulit  magister  philip- 
pus  tripolitanus  de  forma  iusticie. 
Fol.  28r  (44v),  Liber  Quintus 
et    scriptoribus    secre- 

(45r),  Liber  Sextus  de 
informationibus    ipso- 

de    scribis 

Fol.  28r 
nuntiis  et 

Fol.  28v  (46V),  Liber  Septimus 
de  hiis  qui  sr'  intendunt  et  habent 
curam  subditorum. 

Fol.  29r  (47r),  Liber  Octavus 
de  dispositione  ductoris  sui  et  de 

electione  bellatorum  et  procerum 
inferiores    (?). 

Fol.  29V  (48r),  Liber  Nonus  de 
regimine  bellatorum  et  forma 
aggredicndi  bellum  et  pronata- 
tionibus  eorundem. 

Fol.  30V  (50V),  Sermo  de 
phisionomia   cuiuslibet   hominis. 

^  It  is  omitted  in  some  printed 
editions,  but  occurs  in  both  13th 
century  MSS  which  I  examined. 

'Gaster  (1908),  p.  1076. 

'  Steinschneider    (1905),   p.  60. 


kingcraft  and  government  display  shrewdness  and  common 
sense,  worldly  wisdom  and  knowledge  of  human  nature,  are 
not  restricted  by  being  written  from  any  one  premise  or 
view-point,  and  often  evince  real  enlightenment.  Those 
historians  who  have  declared  the  love  of  fame  a  new  product 
of  the  Italian  Renaissance  should  have  read  the  chapter  on 
fame  in  this  most  popular  book  of  the  middle  ages,  where 
we  find  such  statements  as  that  royal  power  ought  not  to  be 
desired  for  its  own  sake  but  for  the  sole  purpose  of  achiev- 
ing fame.  Other  noteworthy  utterances  indicative  of  the  tone 
and  thought  of  the  book  are  that  "the  intellect  ...  is  the 
root  of  all  things  praiseworthy" ;  that  kings  should  cultivate 
the  sciences ;  that  liberality  involves  respect  for  others'  prop- 
erty ;  that  "war  destroys  order  and  devastates  the  lands  and 
turns  everything  to  chaos" ;  that  no  earthly  ruler  should  shed 
blood,  which  is  reserved  for  God  alone,  but  limit  his  punish- 
ments to  imprisonment,  flogging,  and  torture ;  that  the  king, 
as  Chief  Justice  Coke  later  told  James  I,  is  under  the  law; 
that  taxes  upon  merchants  should  be  light  so  that  they  will 
remain  in  the  country  and  contribute  to  its  prosperity ;  that 
his  people  are  a  king's  true  treasury  and  that  he  should  ac- 
quaint himself  with  their  needs  and  watch  over  their  in- 

From  the  medical  passages  of  the  book  one  would  infer  Medical 
that  the  art  of  healing  at  first  developed  more  slowly  than 
the  art  of  ruling  in  the  world's  history.  The  medical  theory 
of  The  Secret  of  Secrets  is  not  of  an  advanced  or  complex 
sort,  but  is  a  combination  of  curious  notions,  such  as  that 
vomiting  once  a  month  or  oftener  is  beneficial,  and  sensible 
ideas,  such  as  that  life  consists  of  natural  heat  and  that  it  is 
very  important  to  keep  the  abdomen  warm  and  the  bowels 
moving  regularly.  Turkish  baths  are  described  for  perhaps 
the  first  time  in  Europe,  and  Alexander  is  advised  to  keep 
his  teeth  and  mouth  clean.  The  well-known  apothegm  of 
Hippocrates  is  quoted,  "I  would  rather  eat  to  live  than  live 
to  eat,"  and  Alexander  is  advised  to  cease  eating  while  he 
still  has  an  appetite. 



Astrology.  Much  of  the  advice  offered  to  Alexander  by  Aristotle  in 
The  Secret  of  Secrets  is  astrological.  Among  those  studies 
which  the  king  should  promote,  the  only  one  specifically 
mentioned  is  astrology,  which  considers  "the  course  of  the 
year  and  of  the  stars,  the  coming  festivals  and  solemnities 
of  the  month,  the  course  of  the  planets,  the  cause  of  the 
shortening  and  lengthening  of  days  and  nights,  the  signs  of 
the  stars  which  determine  the  future  and  many  other  things 
which  pertain  to  prediction  of  the  future."  ^  Alexander  is 
adjured  "not  to  rise  up  or  sit  down  or  eat  or  drink  or  do  any- 
thing without  consulting  a  man  skilled  in  the  art  of  as- 
tronomy." ^  Later  the  two  parts  of  astronomy  are  dis- 
tinguished, that  is,  astronomy  and  astrology  in  our  sense  of 
the  words.  Alexander  is  further  warned  to  put  no  faith  in 
the  utterances  of  those  stupid  persons  who  declare  that  the 
science  of  the  stars  is  too  difficult  to  master.  No  less  stupid 
is  the  argument  of  others  who  affirm  that  God  has  foreseen 
and  foreordained  everything  from  eternity  and  that  conse- 
quently all  things  happen  of  necessity  and  it  is  therefore 
of  no  advantage  to  predict  events  which  cannot  be  avoided. 
For  even  if  things  happened  of  necessity,  it  would  be  easier 
to  bear  them  by  foreknowing  and  preparing  for  them  before- 
hand, just  as  men  make  preparations  against  the  coming  of 
a  cold  winter — the  familiar  contention  of  Ptolemy.  But 
The  Secret  of  Secrets  also  believes  that  one  should  pray  God 
in  His  mercy  to  avert  future  evils  and  ordain  otherwise, 
"For  He  has  not  so  ordained  things  that  to  ordain  other- 
wise derogates  in  any  respect  from  His  Providence."  But 
this  is  not  so  approved  astrological  doctrine.  Later  in  the 
work  Alexander  is  once  more  urged  never  to  take  medicine 
or  open  a  vein  except  with  the  approval  of  his  astronomers,^ 
and  directions  are  given  as  to  the  constellations  under  which 

*  Cap.  II   (Harvard  copy)  ;  cap.  (1920)  p.  60;  also  in  Caster's  He- 

25  (BM  IA.10756)  ;  Egerton  2676,  brew  text. 

fol.  I2r;  BN  6584,  fol.  g\;  Steele  'Egerton    2676,    fol.    32r ;    cap. 

(1920)  pp.  58-59.  62      (BM      IA.10756)  ;      fol.     33r 

'Cap.  13   (Harvard  copy);  cap.  (Paris,  1520);  BN  6584,  fol.  iQv; 

30  (BM  I  A.  10756)  ;  Egerton  2676,  Steele   (1920)   pp.   108-10. 
fol.  I3r;  BN  6584,  fol.  lor ;  Steele 


bleeding  should  be  performed  and  also  concerning  the  tak- 
ing of  laxatives  with  reference  to  the  position  of  the  moon 
in  the  signs  of  the  zodiac.^  Later  the  work  discusses  the 
relations  of  the  four  elements  and  of  various  herbs  to  the 
seven  planets,^  and  in  the  next  to  last  chapter  Alexander  is 
advised  to  conduct  his  wars  under  the  guidance  of  astrol- 

There  is  much  indulging  in  astrological  theory  in  the  Story  of 
midst  of  the  chapter  on  Justice,  and  the  constitution  of  the  boys!^° 
universe  is  set  forth  from  the  first  and  highest  simple  spir- 
itual substance  down  through  the  nine  heavens  and  spheres 
to  the  lowest  inferiors.  To  illustrate  the  power  of  the  stars 
the  story  is  presently  told  of  two  boys,'*  one  a  weaver's  son, 
the  other  a  royal  prince  of  India.  Sages  who  were  chance 
guests  in  the  weaver's  house  at  the  time  of  the  child's  birth 
noted  that  his  horoscope  was  that  of  a  courtier  high  in  royal 
councils  but  kept  their  discovery  to  themselves.  The  boy's 
parents  vainly  tried  to  make  a  weaver  of  him,  but  even 
beatings  were  in  vain;  he  was  finally  allowed  to  follow  his 
natural  inclination,  secured  an  education,  and  became  in 
time  a  royal  governor.  The  king's  son,  on  the  contrary, 
despite  his  royal  birth  and  the  fact  that  his  father  sent  him 
through  all  his  provinces  to  learn  the  sciences,  would  take 
no  interest  in  anything  except  mechanics  conformably  to  his 

In   The  Secret  of  Secrets  the   Pseudo-Aristotle   refers    Virtues 
Alexander  for  the  virtues  of  gems  and  herbs  to  his  treatises    °jf(/j^°"u^ 
on  stones  and  plants,  presumably  those  which  we  have  al-  incanta- 
ready  described.     He  does  not  entirely  refrain  from  discus-  amulets. 

*  The    Paris,    1520,   edition   then  (1920)   pp.  258-9. 

goes  on  to  explain  the  effects  of  '  This  passage  is  found  both  in 

incantations  and  images  upon  as-  Egerton    MS    2676    and    in    BM 

trological   grounds,   but   this   pas-  IA.10756.      BN    6584,    fol.    2ir-v. 

sage  seems  to  be  missing  from  the  Bodl.  67,  fol.  32V-35V.    Steele,  119- 

earlier    printed    editions    and    the  20. 

thirteenth  century  manuscripts.  ^  Cap.  y^  (BM  lA. 10756)  ;  fols. 
Roger  Bacon,  however,  implies  44v-45r  (Paris,  1520)  ;  BN  6584, 
that  _  incantations  were  present  in  fol.  30V ;  Steele,  155-6. 
Philip's  original  translation,  and  *  BN  6584,  fol.  21  r;  also  in  Gas- 
one  Arabic  MS  gives  cabalistic  ter's  Hebrew  version;  cap.  26  in 
signs     for     the     planets;     Steele  the  Harvard  copy ;  Steele,  137. 







sion  of  such  marvelous  properties  in  the  present  work,  how- 
ever, mentioning  the  use  of  the  virtues  of  stones  in  con- 
nection with  incantations.  We  also  again  hear  of  stones 
which  will  prevent  any  army  from  withstanding  Alexander 
or  which  will  cause  horses  to  whinny  or  keep  them  from 
doing  so;  and  of  herbs  which  bring  true  or  false  dreams  or 
cause  joy,  love,  hate,  honor,  reverence,  courage,  and  in- 
ertia.^ One  recipe  reads,  "If  you  take  in  the  name  of  some- 
one seven  grains  of  the  seeds  of  the  herb  called  androsimon, 
and  hold  them  in  his  name  when  Lucifer  and  Venus  are  ris- 
ing so  that  their  rays  touch  him  (or  them?),  and  if  you  give 
him  those  seven  grains  to  eat  or  pulverized  in  drink,  fear 
of  you  will  ever  abide  in  his  heart  and  he  will  obey  you  for 
the  rest  of  his  life."  ^  The  discussion  of  incantations,  astro- 
logical images,  and  amulets  is  omitted  from  many  Latin 
manuscripts  but  occurs  in  Roger  Bacon's  version.^ 

The  extreme  powers  attributed  to  herbs  and  stones  in 
The  Secret  of  Secrets  aroused  some  scepticism  among  its 
Latin  readers  of  the  thirteenth  century.^  Geoffrey  of  Wa- 
ter ford,  a  Dominican  from  Ireland  who  died  about  1300, 
translated  The  Secret  of  Secrets  into  French.  He  criticized, 
however,  its  assertions  concerning  the  virtues  of  stones  and 
herbs  as  more  akin  to  fables  than  to  philosophy,  a  fact  of 
which,  he  adds,  all  clerks  who  know  Latin  well  are  aware. 
He  wonders  why  Alexander  had  to  win  his  battles  by  hard 
fighting  when  Aristotle  is  supposed  to  inform  him  in  this 
book  of  a  stone  which  will  always  rout  the  enemy.  Geof- 
frey decides  that  such  false  statements  are  the  work  of  the 
translators  and  that  Aristotle  is  the  author  only  of  what  is 
well  said  or  reasonable  in  the  work. 

Something  is  said  in  The  Secret  of  Secrets  of  the  occult 
properties  and  relative  perfection  of  numbers,  and  as  usual 

*Gaster,  pp.  116,  160-62;  Eger- 
ton  2676,  fols.  34r-35r ;  cap.  66 
(BM  lA. 10756)  ;  fol.  27^  (Paris, 
1520)  ;  BN  6584,  fol.  2or-22r ; 
Steele,   121 -2. 

'Egerton    2676,    fol.    36V ;    BN 

6584.  fol.  22r;  Steele,  122. 

'  Steele  (1920)  pp.  Ixii,  157-63, 
252-61;  Paris  (1520),  fol.  37; 
Gaster,  p.  159. 

*HL  XXI,  2i6fT. 


the  preference  is  for  the  numbers,  three,  four,  seven,  and 
ten.^  The  Hebrew  version  adds  a  puerile  method  of  divin- 
ing who  will  be  victor  in  a  battle  by  a  numerical  calculation 
based  upon  the  letters  in  the  names  of  the  generals.  The 
Latin  versions  of  the  thirteenth  century  contain  a  chapter  on 
alchemy  which  had  great  influence  and  gives  a  recipe  for  the 
philosopher's  stone  and  the  Emerald  Table  of  Hermes.^  But 
in  the  Hebrew  version  and  Achillini's  printed  text  occurs  a 
passage  in  which  Alexander  is  warned  that  alchemy  is  not 
a  true  science.^ 

We  may'conclude  our  picture  of  the  work's  contents  with  The 
two  of  its  stories,  namely,  concerning  the  poisonous  maiden  maTden  " 
and  the  Jew  and  the  Magus.  A  beautiful  maiden  was  sent 
from  India  to  Alexander  with  other  rich  gifts.  But  she  had 
been  fed  upon  poison  from  infancy  "until  she  was  of  the 
nature  of  a  snake.  And  had  I  not  perceived  it,"  continues 
Aristotle  in  the  Hebrew  version,  "for  I  suspected  the  clever 
men  of  those  countries  and  their  craft,  and  had  I  not  found 
by  tests  that  she  would  kill  thee  by  her  embrace  and  by  her 
perspiration,  she  surely  would  have  killed  thee."  ^  This 
venomous  maiden  is  also  alluded  to  in  various  medieval  dis- 
cussions of  poisons.  Peter  of  Abano  mentions  her  in  his 
De  venenis.^  Gilbert  of  England,  following  no  doubt  Ge- 
rard of  Cremona's  translation  of  Avicenna,  cites  Ruffus 
rather  than  the  Pseudo-Aristotle  concerning  her  and  says 
nothing  of  her  relations  with  Alexander,  but  adds  that  ani- 
mals who  approached  her  spittle  were  killed  by  it.*'  In  Le 
Secret  aux  philosophes,  a  French  work  of  the  closing  thir- 

*Caps.    68    and    72     (BM     lA.  10756,    and     BN    6584,     fol.     lor, 

10756)  ;   cap.  68  appears  in  Eger-  where    Aristotle    seems    to   detect 

ton  2676;  cap.  72  in  Caster's  text  the     venomous     nature     of     the 

and   in   the   Paris    (1520)    edition.  maiden    by    magic    art — "Et    nisi 

I  could  not  find  the  passage  in  BN  ego   ilia    hora    sagaciter   inspexis- 

6584;   Steele   (1920)    134-5.  sem     in     ipsam     et     arte    magica 

'  BN  6584,   fol.   2or-v ;   Egerton  iudicassem  .  .  ." ;   while   it  is   her 

2676,   fols.  33v-34r;  cap.  65    (BM  mere  bite  that  kills  men,  as  Alex- 

lA.  10756)  ;    fols.    36v-37r    (Paris  ander   afterwards   proved   experi- 

1520)  ;  Steele,  114-15.  mentally;  Steele,  60. 

*  Caster,  159-60;  fol.  38r  (Paris,  *  Cap.    3. 

1520);  Steele,  174.  *Cilbertus     Anglicus,     Compen- 

*  Caster,  p.   127;   cap.   12    (Har-       dium  niedicinae,  Lyons,  1510,  fol. 
vard    copy)  ;     also    in     BM     I  A.      348V. 

278    MAGIC  AND  EXPERIMENTAL  SCIENCE  chap,  xlviii 

teenth  century,  where  the  story  is  told  at  considerable  length, 
Socrates  rather  than  Aristotle  saves  Alexander  from  the 
poisonous  maid.^ 
The  Jew  In  the  other  story  a  Magus  is  represented  in  a  much  more 

Magus!  favorable  light  than  magicians  generally  v^ere;  he  seems  to 
represent  rather  one  of  the  Persian  sages.  He  was  travel- 
ing on  a  mule  with  provisions  and  met  a  Jew  traveling  on 
foot.  Their  talk  soon  turned  to  their  respective  religions 
and  moral  standards.  The  Magus  professed  altruism;  the 
Jew  was  inclined  to  get  the  better  of  all  men  except  Jews. 
When  these  principles  had  been  stated,  the  Jew  requested  the 
Magus,  since  he  professed  to  observe  the  law  of  love,  to 
dismount  and  let  him  ride  the  mule.  No  sooner  had  this 
been  done  than  the  Jew,  true  to  his  law  of  selfishness  and 
hate,  made  off  with  both  mule  and  provisions.  This  mis- 
fortune did  not  lead  the  Magus  to  lose  his  faith  in  God, 
however,  and  as  he  plodded  along  he  by  and  by  came  again 
upon  the  Jew  who  had  fallen  off  the  mule  and  broken  his 
neck.  The  Magus  then  mercifully  brought  the  Jew  to  the 
nearest  town  where  he  died,  while  the  king  of  the  country 
made  the  Magus  one  of  his  trusted  ministers  of  state.^ 

'HL    XXX,    569flF.      "Die    Sage  gen  (1905),  PP-  156-277. 

vom    Giftmadchen"    is   the   theme  *  BN   6584,    fol.    27;    lA.    10756, 

of     a    long    monograph    by    W.  cap.  68 ;   also   in   Paris,    1520  edi- 

Hertz,     Gesammelte    Abhandlun-  tion,  etc. ;  Steele,  144-6, 



Solomon  as  a  magician — Magic  books  ascribed  to  Solomon — Man- 
uscripts of  them — Notory  art  of  Solomon  and  Apollonius — Other 
works  ascribed  to  Solomon  and  Apollonius — Liber  sacratus;  preface — 
Incipit  and  Explicit — A  work  of  theurgy  or  the  notory  art — Character 
of  its  contents — The  third  "work" — The  fourth  and  fifth  "works" — 
How  to  operate  with  spirits — The  seal  of  the  living  God — Spirits  of 

It  was  only  natural  that  Solomon,  regarded  as  the  wisest  Solomon 
man  in  the  history  of  the  world,  should  be  represented  magician. 
in  oriental  tradition  as  the  worker  of  many  marvels  and 
that  in  the  course  of  time  books  of  magic  should  be  at- 
tributed to  him,  just  as  treatises  on  the  interpretation  of 
dreams  were  ascribed  to  Joseph  and  Daniel.  Roger  Bacon 
speaks  of  the  magic  books  in  a  grand-sounding  style  which 
were  falsely  ascribed  to  Solomon  and  which  "ought  all  to  be 
prohibited  by  law."  ^  Solomon's  reputation  as  a  magician, 
even  in  the  western  Latin-speaking  world,  was  much  older 
than  the  thirteenth  century,  however.  In  191 8  Roman 
archaeologists  excavated  at  Ostia  a  bronze  disc,  on  one 
side  of  which  was  depicted  Solomon  as  a  magician,  stirring 
with  a  long  ladle  some  mess  in  a  large  cauldron.  On  the 
other  side  of  the  disc  was  a  figure  of  the  triple  Hecate,  who, 
like  Solomon,  was  surrounded  by  mystic  signs  and  magic 

But  to  return  to  the  medieval  period.    In  the  first  half  of    Magic 
the   thirteenth   century    William    of    Auvergne,    bishop   of    ascribed  to 
Paris,  in  his  treatise  on  laws  declares  that  there  is  no  di-    Solomon. 

*  Brewer  (1859),  pp.  526,  531.  Cown,  "Solomon  as  a  Magician  in 

"  The   Nation,   New  York,  May      Christian   Legend,"   would  appear 

10,     1919,     p.     744.      In    January,       in    the    Jourtuil   of    the   Palestine 

1922,    it    was    announced    that    a       Oriental  Society. 

paper    by    Professor    C.    C.    Mc- 



vinity  in  the  angles  of  Solomon's  pentagon,  that  the  rings  of 
Solomon  and  the  seals  of  Solomon  and  the  nine  candles 
{candariae)  are  a  form  of  idolatry,  and  involve  execrable 
consecrations  and  detestable  invocations  and  images.  "As 
for  that  horrible  image  called  the  Idea  Salomonis  et  entocta, 
let  it  never  be  mentioned  among  Christians."  In  the  same 
class  are  the  book  called  Sacratus  and  the  figure  Mandel  or 
Amandel}  Some  years  later  Albertus  Magnus,  listing  evil 
books  of  necromantic  images  in  his  Specidum  astronomiae,^ 
includes  five  treatises  current  under  the  name  of  Solomon, 
and  seems  to  have  in  mind  about  the  same  works  as  William. 
One  is  De  figura  Almandel,  another  De  novem  candariis,  and 
a  third  on  the  four  rings  {De  quatuor  anmdis)  opens  with 
the  words  "Dc  arte  eiitonica  et  ideica,"  which  remind  one 
of  William's  "Idea  Salomonis  et  entocta,"  and  is  perhaps 
also  identical  with  a  Liber  de  umhris  ideanim  cited  under  the 
name  of  Solomon  by  Cecco  d'Ascoli  in  his  necromantic  com- 
mentary upon  the  Sphere  of  Sacrobosco,^  written  in  the 
early  fourteenth  century. 
Manu-  Moreover,  these  same  works  are  apparently  still  extant  in 

^^I^?^^  manuscripts  in  European  libraries.  The  figure  Almandal 
or  Almandel  and  the  rings  of  Solomon  are  found  in  fifteenth 
century  manuscripts  at  Florence  and  Paris, ^  while  in  the 
Sloane  collection  of  the  British  Museum  we  find  Solomon's 
pentagon,  the  divine  seal,  the  four  rings,  and  the  nine  can- 
dles, all  in  seventeenth  century  manuscripts.^  In  these  sev- 
enteenth century  manuscripts  also  appear,  and  more  than 
once,  the  Clardicida  or  Key  of  Solomon,  in  French,  Italian, 

^  De  legibus,  cap.  27.  3853,    fol.    127V,    Divine    seal    of 

'Cap.  II.  Solomon;      3847,      fols.      66v-8i, 

^  Ed.  of   1518,  p.  22F2.  "Opus   mirabile   et   etiam   verissi- 

*  Florence     II-iii-24,     15th    cen-  mum  de  quatuor  annulis  sapientis- 

tury,   74-77,    "Liber  in   figura   Al-  simi    Salomonis" ;    3850,    fols.   68- 

mandel    et    eius    opere    /    et    eius  75,     Salomonis     opus     de     novem 

iuditio" ;   77,   "Alius   liber  de   Al-  candariis    celestibus.      In    a    i6th 

mandal  qui  dicitur  tabula  vel  ara  century  MS  in  French  there  is  a 

Salomonis."  book    of    conjurations    of    spirits 

BN     7349,     isth     century,     5  8,  ascribed    to    Solomon.     The    con- 

Annuli  Salomonis.  jurations    themselves    are    mainly 

'Sloane      3851,      fols.      31V-53,  in  Latin.     CU  Trinity  1404  (VI). 

"Signum  Pentaculum  Salomonis"; 




and  English,^  the  book  by  Solomon  called  Cephar  or  Saphar 
Raziel,^  and  the  Liber  sacer  or  sacratus.^  The  last-named 
work,  mentioned  at  least  twice  in  the  thirteenth  century  by 
William  of  Auvergne,  who  calls  it  "a  cursed  and  execrable 
book,"  ^  is  also  found  in  manuscripts  of  the  fourteenth 
or  fifteenth  century,^  and  we  shall  presently  consider  it  in 
particular  as  a  specimen  of  the  Pseudo-Solomon  literature 
and  of  medieval  books  of  magic,  theurgy,  and  necromancy. 

Let  us  first,  however,  note  some  other  works  ascribed  Notory 
to  Solomon  and  which  have  to  do  with  the  Ars  Notoria,  or 
Notory  Art,  which  seeks  to  gain  knowledge  from  or  com- 
munion with  God  by  invocation  of  angels,  mystic  figures, 
and  magical  prayers.  We  are  told  that  the  Creator  revealed 
this  art  through  an  angel  to  Solomon  one  night  while  he 
was  praying,  and  that  by  it  one  can  in  a  short  time  acquire 
all  the  liberal  and  mechanical  arts.®  There  seems  to  be 
little  difference  between  the  notory  art  of  Solomon,  that  of 

and  Apol 

^  Harleian  3536,  in  French ; 
Sloane  1307,  in  Italian,  the  trans- 
lation being  ascribed  to  "Gio. 
Peccatrix" ;  Sloane  3825  and  3847 
are  not  identical  versions. 

^Sloane  3826,  fols.  1-57;  3846, 
fols.  127-55;  3847,  fols.  161-88; 
3853,  fols.  41-53.  Perhaps  the 
same  as  the  "Sefer  ha-Yashar" 
mentioned  by  Haya  Gaon  in  the 
early  eleventh  century :  Gaster, 
The  Sword  of  Moses,  i8g6,  p.  16. 

^  Sloane  3883,  fols.  1-25,  De 
mode  ministrandi  librum  sacrum 
(revealed  to  Solomon  by  an 

Sloane  3885,  fols.  1-25,  "Liber 
sacer  Salomonis,"  repeated  at 
fols.  96V-125;  fols.  58-96,  Trac- 
tatus  de  re  magica  ab  Honorio 
filio  Euclidis  magistro  Thebarum 
ex  septem  voluminibus  artis 
magicae  compilatus,  et  intitulatus 
Liber  sacer,  sive  juratus. 

*  De  legibus,  caps.  24  and  27. 

"Sloane  313,  late  14th  or  15th 
century  (according  to  a  Letter 
from  Dr.  Montague  Rhodes 
James  to  me,  dated  21  May,  1921), 
mutilus,  quondam  Ben  Jonsonii, 
26    fols.,    Salomonis   opus   sacrum 

ab  Honorio  ordinatum,  tractatus 
de  arte  magica. 

Sloane  3854,  14th  century,  fols. 
112-39,  Honorii  Magistri  Theba- 
rum liber  cui  titulus  "Juratus." 

*BN  7153,  15th  century,  Solo- 
mon, Sacratissima  ars  notoria. 

Harleian  181,  fol.  18-,  Ars 
notoria  (Salomoni  ab  angelo 
tradita)  preceded  at  fol.  i-  by 
Ars  memorativa,  and  followed  at 
fol.  81  by  "de  arte  crucifixa." 

CU  Trinity  1419,  1600  A.  D., 
Liber  de  Arte  memorativa  sive 
notoria  .  .  .  Prologus  per  Sal- 
lomonem  .  .  .  Inc.  sanctissima  Ars 
notoria  quam  Creator  altissi- 
mus  per  Angelum  suum  super 
altare  templi  quodam  modo  Salo- 
moni dum  oraret  ministrans. 

Math.  50  (Amplonius'  catalogue 
of  1412),  "Item  liber  continens 
septem  libros  parciales  qui  dicitur 
angelus  magnus  vel  secreta  secre- 
torum  et  est  de  arte  notoria 
Salomonis  et  non  debet  rudibus 

CLM  19413,  lo-iith  century, 
fols.  67-108,  Salomonis  III  for- 
mulae, might  turn  out  to  be  a 
work  on  Notory  Art. 



Solomon,  Machineus,  and  Euclid,^  and  the  Golden  Flowers 
of  ApoUonius,^  in  which  Solomon  is  mentioned  almost  every 
other  sentence.  Cecco  d'Ascoli  may  have  had  it  in  mind 
when  he  cited  the  Book  of  Magic  Art  of  Apollonius  and 
the  Angelic  Faction  of  the  same  author.^  In  one  manu- 
script at  the  close  of  the  Golden  Flowers  of  Apollonius  are 
prayers  which  one  "brother  John  Monk"  confesses  he  him- 
self has  composed  in  the  years  1304-1307.^  In  a  later  manu- 
script we  find  his  prayers  described  as  given  to  him  by  the 
blessed  God  and  as  "perfect  science,"  and  they  are  followed 
by  "The  Pauline  art,"  discovered  by  the  Apostle  Paul  after 
he  had  been  snatched  up  to  the  third  heaven,  and  delivered 
by  him  at  Corinth.^  Other  works  of  notory  art  are  listed  in 
the  manuscript  catalogues  without  name  of  author.^  But  all 
alike  are  apt  to  impress  the  present  reader  as  unmeaning 
jumbles  of  diagrams  and  magic  words. '^     We  shall  suffi- 

^  Sloane  1712,  13th  century,  fols. 
1-22,  "Ars  notoria  Salomonis, 
Machine!,  et  Euclidis,"  followed 
at  fols.  22-37  by  an  anonymous 
"ars  notoria  quae  nova  ars  appel- 

BN  7152,  14th  century,  Expo- 
sitiones  quas  Magister  Apollonius 
flores  aureos  ad  eruditionem  et 
cognitionem  omnium  scientiarum 
et  naturalium  artium  generaliter 
et  merito  et  competenter  appella- 
vit ;  hoc  opus  Salomonis  Machinei 
et  Euclidii  actoritate  maxima 
compositum  et  probatum  est :  ac- 
cedunt  figurae. 

^CLM  268,  14th  century,  16 
fols.;  CLM  276,  14th  century,  fols. 
1-26,  Apollonii  flores  aurei,  quo- 
rum pars  extat  in  cod.  268. 

Amplon.  Quarto  380,  13th  cen- 
tury, fols.  49-64,  ars  Dotoria  Ap- 
polonii  philosophi  et  magi ;  while 
the  1412  catalogue  gives  Math.  54, 
"Liber  Appollonii  magi  vel  philo- 
sophi qui  dicitur  Elizinus" ;  Am- 
plon. Octavo  84,  14th  century, 
fols.  95-106  (Apollonii)  de  arte 
notoria  Salomonis. 

.A.shmole  1515,  i6th  century,  fol. 
4r,  "Incipit  primus  tractatus  is- 
tius  sanctissime  artis  notorie  et 
expositiones  eius  et  temporum  ex- 

ceptiones,  quas  Salomon  et  Apol- 
lonius flores  aureos  appellaverunt, 
et  hoc  opere  probatum  est  et 
confirmatum  authoritate  Salomo- 
nis,  Manichei  et   Euduchii." 

^Sphere    (1518),  fol.  3- 

*  CLM  276,  fol.  49- 

"BN  7170A,  i6th  century,  If  i, 
de  arte  notoria  data  a  Deo  beato 
Joanni  Monacho  sive  de  scientia 
perfecta :  praemittuntur  orationes 
decem ;  1 2,  Ars  Paulina,  a  Paulo 
Apostolo  inventa  post  raptum  eius 
et    Corinthiis    denotata. 

'  BN  9336,  14th  century,  "Sacra- 
tissima  ars  notoria." 

Amplon,  Quarto  28,  anno  1415, 
fols.  38-41,  ars  notoria  et  ora- 
tionibus  et  figuris  exercenda ; 
Amplon.  Octavo  79,  14th  century, 
fols.  63-64,  ars  notoria  brevis  et 

Sloane  3008,  isth  century,  fol. 
66-,  de  arte  notoria,  brief  and 

'  Essentially  similar  is  "The 
Sword  of  Moses.  An  ancient 
book  of  magic  from  an  unique 
manuscript,  with  introduction, 
translation,  an  index  of  mystical 
names  and  a  facsimile.  Published 
for  the  first  time,"  London,  1896, 
by  ]^^.  Caster  from  a  Hebrew  MS 




ciently  illustrate  them  all  when  we  come  to  speak  of  the 
Liber  sacratus  which  is  itself  in  large  measure  concerned 
with  the  Notory  Art. 

Certain  works  may  be  mentioned  which  are  ascribed  to 
Solomon  or  to  Apollonius  in  the  medieval  manuscripts,  and 
which  do  not  seem  to  be  concerned  with  the  notory  art. 
Experiments  ascribed  to  Solomon  will  be  mentioned  in  an- 
other place  in  connection  with  experimental  literature. 
Treatises  of  alchemy  and  astrology  also  were  attributed  to 
him.^  Under  the  name  of  Apollonius  we  find  a  work  on 
the  properties  or  occult  virtue  of  things,  and  another,  or 
possibly  the  same,  on  the  principal  causes  of  things.^  One 
wonders  if  it  may  have  any  connection  with  the  book  on  six 
principles  of  things  ascribed  to  Hermes  Trismegistus  and 
which  has  been  discussed  in  our  chapter  on  Hermetic  Books 
in  the  Middle  Ages.  A  treatise  on  palmistry  is  ascribed  to 
Solomon  in  a  fourteenth  century  manuscript  at  Cambridge.^ 
A  "Philosophy  of  Solomon"  in  a  manuscript  of  the  late 
twelfth  century  in  the  British  Museum  consists  of  "notes 
perhaps  from  more  than  one  source  on  the  analogy  between 
the  patriarchs  Abraham,  Isaac,  and  Jacob,  the  three  divi- 
sions of  philosophy  {moralis,  naturalis,  inspectiva) ,  and  the 
three  books  of  Solomon."  ** 

The  Liber  sacratiis,  as  William  of  Auvergne  twice  en- 
titles it,  or  the  Liber  sacer  or  Liber  juratus,  as  it  is  also 

of  I3-I4th  century.  Gaster  (p. 
18)  describes  the  treatise  as  "a 
complete  encyclopaedia  of  mystical 
names,  of  eschatological  teach- 
ings, and  of  magical  recipes." 
The  Sword  proper  is  a  series  of 

^  Sloane  3849,  i5-i6th  century, 
fols.  30-38,  A  noble  experiment  of 
King  Solomon  with  astrological 

Ashmole  1416,  15th  century,  fol. 
113V,  Libellus  de  sulphuris  virtuti- 
bus;  114-,  Fragmentum  de  plane- 
tarum  influentia  ;  123-,  On  perilous 
days ;  123-4,  Ars  artium,  or 
prayers  to  invoke  spirits,  is  per- 
haps a  portion  of  the  Ars  Notoria. 

'Vienna      3124,      15th      century, 

"Verba  de  proprietatibus  rerum 
quomodo  virtus  unius  frangitur 
per  alium.  Adamas  nee  ferro  nee 
igne  domatur  /  cito  medetur." 

BN  13951,  I2th  century,  Liber 
Apollonii  de  principalibus  rerum 

'Trinity  1109,  fols.  388-90,  Expl. 
tract,  de  Palmistria  Salamonis. 
The  tract  consists  of  two  full 
page  diagrams  and  an  explana- 
tion in  French. 

*  Royal  7-D-II,  late  12th  cen- 
tury, fols.  3-10,  opening,  "Hanc 
ergo  triplicem  divine  philosophie 
formam.  ..."  I  quote  the  de- 
scription in  the  new  catalogue  of 
the  Royal  MSS. 

ascribed  to 
and  Apol- 





called  in  the  manuscripts/  is  associated  with  the  name  Hon- 
orius  as  well  as  Solomon,  and  is  often  spoken  of  as  The 
Sworn  Book  of  Honorius.  The  preface,  as  given  in  the 
Latin  manuscripts  of  the  fourteenth  century — one  of  which 
once  belonged  to  Ben  Jonson — states  that  under  the  influ- 
ence of  evil  spirits  the  pope  and  cardinals  had  passed  a  de- 
cree aiming  at  the  complete  extirpation  of  the  magic  art  and 
condemning  magicians  to  death.  The  grounds  for  this  ac- 
tion were  that  magicians  and  necromancers  were  injuring 
everyone,  transgressing  the  statutes  of  holy  mother  church, 
making  invocations  and  sacrifices  to  demons,  and  dragging 
ignorant  people  down  to  damnation  by  their  marvelous  il- 
lusions. These  charges  the  magicians  hotly  deny  as  inspired 
by  the  envy  and  cupidity  of  the  devil  who  wished  to  keep 
a  monopoly  of  such  marvels.  The  magicians  declare  that 
it  is  impossible  for  a  wicked  or  impure  man  to  work  truly 
by  the  magic  art,  in  which  they  assert  that  the  spirits  are 
compelled  against  their  will  by  pure  men.  The  magicians 
further  profess  to  have  been  forewarned  by  their  art  of  this 
legislation  against  them.  They  hesitate,  however,  to  sum- 
mon the  demons  to  their  aid  lest  those  spirits  avail  them- 
selves of  the  opportunity  to  destroy  the  populace  utterly. 
Instead  an  assembly  of  89  masters  from  Naples,  Athens,  and 
Toledo  has  chosen  Honorius,  son  of  Euclid,-  a  master  of 
Thebes,  to  reduce  their  magic  books  to  one  volume  contain- 
ing 93  chapters,  which  they  may  more  readily  conceal  and 
preserve.  And  inasmuch  as  it  has  pleased  the  prelates  and 
princes  to  order  the  burning  of  their  books  and  the  destruc- 
tion of  schools  of  magic,  the  followers  of  that  art  have  taken 
an  oath  not  to  give  this  volume  to  anyone  until  its  owner  is 
on  his  death-bed,  never  to  have  more  than  three  copies  of  it 
made  at  a  time,  and  never  to  give  it  to  a  woman  or  to  a  man 
who  is  not  of  mature  years  and  proved  fidelity.  Each  new 
recipient  of  the  sacred  volume  is  also  to  take  this  oath. 

*  See    above,    page    281    of    this       as  one  of  the  three  co-authors  of 
chapter,  notes  3  and  5.  the     work    on    the    Notary    Art 

'  Possibly  he  is  the  same  Euclid      mentioned  above. 


Hence  the  name,  Juratus  or  Sworn-Book.  Its  other  titles, 
Sacer  or  Sacratiis,  refer  either  to  the  sacred  names  of  God 
which  constitute  much  of  its  text  or  to  its  consecration  by 
the  angels. 

After  this  proemium,  which,  like  the  magic  art  itself,  is  Indpit 
probably  more  impressive  than  true,  the  work  proper  opens  Explicit 
with  the  statement,  "In  the  name  of  almighty  God  and  Jesus 
Christ,  one  and  true  God,  I,  Honorius,  have  thus  ordered  the 
works  of  Solomon  in  my  book."  Later  Honorius  reiterates 
that  he  is  following  the  precepts  and  in  the  foot-prints  of 
Solomon,  whom  he  also  often  cites  or  quotes  in  course. 
The  Explicit  of  the  SworurBook  is  unusually  long  and  sets 
forth  in  grandiloquent  style  the  purpose  of  the  volume. 

"So  ends  the  book  of  the  life  of  the  rational  soul,^  which 
is  entitled  Liher  sacer  or  The  Book  of  the  Angels  or  Liher 
juratus,  which  Honorius,  Master  of  Thebes,  made.  This  is 
the  book  by  which  one  can  see  God  in  this  life.  This  is  the 
book  by  which  anyone  can  be  saved  and  led  beyond  a  doubt 
to  life  eternal.  This  is  the  book  by  which  one  can  see  hell 
and  purgatory  without  death.  This  is  the  book  by  which 
every  creature  can  be  subjected  except  the  nine  orders  of 
angels.  This  is  the  book  by  which  all  science  can  be  learned. 
This  is  the  book  by  which  the  weakest  substance  can  over- 
come and  subjugate  the  strongest  substances.  This  is  the 
book  which  no  religion  possesses  except  the  Christian,  or  if 
it  does,  does  so  to  no  avail.  This  is  the  book  which  is  a 
greater  joy  than  any  other  joy  given  by  God  exclusive  of 
the  sacraments.  This  is  the  book  by  which  corporeal  and 
visible  nature  can  converse  and  reason  with  the  incorporeal 
and  invisible  and  be  instructed.  This  is  the  book  by  which 
countless  treasures  can  be  had.  And  by  means  of  it  many 
other  things  can  be  done  which  it  would  take  too  long  to 
enumerate;  therefore  it  is  deservedly  called  The  Holy  Book." 

From  this  description  it  will  be  seen  that  the  work  has   A  work 

of  tliPurfiTV 

a  good  deal  to  do  with  the  so-called  Notory  Art.    Moreover,   ^j.  ^^e 

notory  art. 
^  One  wonders  if  this  can  be  the  evil  book  of  magic  referred  to  by 
Roger  Bacon  and  other  writers  as  De  morte  animae. 



of  its 

in  the  manuscript  copy  said  to  ha/e  belonged  to  Ben  Jonson 
the  word  Theurgia  is  written  on  the  fly-leaves  before  the  be- 
ginning and  after  the  close  of  the  text.  This  calls  to  mind 
the  passage  in  The  City  of  God  ^  where  Augustine  speaks 
of  "incantations  and  formulae  composed  by  an  art  of  de- 
praved curiosity  which  they  either  call  magic  or  by  the  more 
detestable  name  goetia  or  by  the  honorable  title  theurgia. 
For  they  try  to  distinguish  between  these  arts  and  condemn 
some  men,  whom  the  populace  calls  malcfici,  as  devoted  to 
illicit  arts,  for  these,  they  say,  are  concerned  with  goetia; 
but  others  they  want  to  make  out  praiseworthy  as  being 
engaged  in  theurgy.  But  they  are  both  entangled  in  the  de- 
ceptive rites  of  demons  who  masquerade  under  the  names 
of  angels." 

The  text  is  full  of  the  names  of  spirits,  prayers  in 
strange  words,  supposedly  derived  from  Hebrew  or  Chaldaic, 
and  other  gibberish.  Series  of  letters  and  figures  often  oc- 
cur and  names  inscribed  in  stars,  hexagons,  and  circles.  An 
English  translation  in  a  fifteenth  century  manuscript  -  is 
adorned  with  pictures  of  rows  of  spirits  dressed  like  monks 
in  robes  and  caps  but  with  angelic  wings.  The  text  does 
not  seem  to  be  complete  in  any  of  the  manuscripts  that  I 
have  examined,^  but  Sloane  3854  of  the  fourteenth  century 
contains  an  apparently  complete  table  of  contents.  The 
chapter  headings,  anyway,  are  more  intelligible  than  the 
jargon  of  the  text.  The  first  chapter  deals  with  the  com- 
position of  the  great  name  of  God  which  contains  y2  let- 
ters. The  second  is  about  the  divine  vision  and  by  the  time 
it  is  finished  we  are  nearly  two-thirds  through  the  space 
allotted  to  the  Liber  juratus  in  one  manuscript.  The  third 
chapter  is  on  knowledge  of  the  divine  power,  the  fourth  on 
absolution  from  sin,  the  fifth  deals  with  mortal  sin,  the  sixth 
with  the  redemption  of  souls  from  purgatory.  With  this 
the  "first  work"  of  the  collection  of  Honorius  ends.     The 

*  De  civitate  Dei,  X,  9. 

'Royal   17-A-XLII. 

'Sloane  313  seems  to  reach  only 

as  far  as  the  early  chapters  of  the 
"second    work." 


opening  chapters  of  the  second  work  discuss  the  heavens, 
the  angels  found  in  each  heaven  and  at  the  four  points  of 
the  compass,  their  names  and  powers,  seals  and  virtues,  and 
invocation.  Chapters  14  and  15  tell  how  to  get  your  wish 
from  any  angel  or  to  acquire  the  sciences.  Chapter  16  tells 
how  to  learn  the  hour  of  one's  death,  and  chapter  17  how 
to  know  all  things,  past,  present,  or  future.  It  was  perhaps 
these  chapters  that  William  of  Auvergne  had  in  mind  when, 
in  censuring  works  on  divination  by  inspection  of  mirrors, 
sword-blades,  and  human  nails  to  discover  stolen  articles  and 
other  hidden  things,  he  added  that  "from  this  pest  of  curi- 
osity proceeded  that  accursed  and  execrable  work  called 
Liber  sacratus."  ^  That  work  next  returns  for  three  chap- 
ters to  the  stars  and  planets  and  their  virtues  and  influence. 
Chapter  21  then  instructs  how  to  turn  day  into  night  or 
night  into  day.  Next  spirits  are  further  considered,  those 
of  air  and  those  of  fire,  their  names  and  their  superior 
spirits,  their  powers,  virtues,  and  seals.  Attention  is  then 
given  to  the  four  elements  and  bodies  composed  thereof,  to 
herbs  and  plants,  and  to  human  nature,  after  which  aquatic 
and  terrestrial  spirits  are  discussed.  The  future  hfe  is  then 
considered  and  the  33rd  chapter,  which  is  the  last  one  of  the 
"second  work,"  deals  with  "the  consecration  of  this  book." 

The  "third  work,"  which  extends  from  chapter  34  to  87  The  third 
inclusive,  treats  of  the  control  of  spirits  by  words,  by  seals,  ^""^  " 
by  tables,  and  by  shutting  them  up.  It  tells  how  to  provoke 
thunder  and  lightning,  storms,  snow,  ice,  rain,  or  dew;  how 
to  produce  flowers  and  fruit ;  how  to  1;)ecome  invisible ;  how 
to  wage  war  and  to  make  an  indestructible  castle,  how  to  de- 
stroy a  town  by  means  of  mirrors ;  how  to  sow  discord  or 
concord,  how  to  open  closed  doors,  to  catch  thieves,  fish,  and 
animals,  and  to  produce  varied  apparitions. 

The  fourth  work  deals  with  similar  marvels  but  it  is    The 
stated  that  two  of  its  chapters,  namely,  91  on  the  apparition    and  fifth 
of  dead  bodies  which  speak  and  seem  to  be  resuscitated,  and    "works.' 
92  on  the  apparent  creation  of  animals  from  earth,  will  be 
^De  legihus,  cap.  24,  p.  68  in  ed.  of  1591. 


omitted  as  contrary  to  the  will  of  God.     The  fifth  work  or 
book,  which  seems  to  coincide  with  the  93rd  and  last  chap- 
ter of  Honorius,  is  in  reality  divided  into  five  chapters,  which 
return  to  themes  similar  to  those  of  the  first  work. 
How  to  To  illustrate  further  the  character  of  the  work  a  few 

with^^^  particular  passages  may  be  noticed.  We  are  told  that  there 
spirits.  are  three  ways  of  operating  by  means  of  spirits :  the  pagan, 
Jewish,  and  Christian.  The  pagans  sacrificed  to  spirits  of 
earth  and  air  but  did  not  really  constrain  them.  The  spirits 
only  pretended  to  be  coerced  in  order  to  encourage  such 
idolatrous  practices.  "Whoever  wishes  to  operate  by  such 
experiments"  (mark  the  word!),  "deserts  the  Lord  God." 
As  for  the  Jews,  they  get  along  only  so-so,  and  "do  in  no 
wise  work  to  obtain  the  vision  of  the  deity."  Only  a  Chris- 
tian, therefore,  can  operate  successfully  in  such  visions. 
"And  although  three  kinds  of  men  work  at  this  art  of  magic, 
one  should  not  think  that  there  is  any  evil  included  in  this 
name  of  nmgius,  for  a  magus  per  se  is  called  a  philosopher 
in  Greek,  a  scribe  in  Hebrew,  and  a  sage  in  Latin."  ^ 
The  seal  Very  elaborate  directions  are  given  for  the  composition 

Uvinff  °^  ^^^  ^^^^  ^^  ^^^  living  God.     Circles  are  drawn  of  certain 

God.  proportions  emblematic  of  divine  mysteries,  a  cross  is  made 

within,  numerous  letters  are  written  down  equidistant  from 
one  another.  A  pentagon  and  two  hexagons  have  to  be 
placed  just  so  in  relation  to  one  another;  characters  are  in- 
scribed in  their  angles;  and  various  sacred  names  of  God, 
Raphael.  Michael,  and  other  angels  are  written  along  their 
sides.  Different  parts  must  be  executed  in  different  colors ; 
a  particular  kind  of  parchment  must  be  employed ;  and  the 
blood  of  a  mole  or  hoopoe  or  bat  must  be  used  as  ink  for 
some  of  the  writing.  Finally,  there  are  sacrifices,  purifica- 
tions, suffumigations,  invocations,  and  prayers  to  be  per- 
formed and  offered.  This  seal,  we  are  told,  "will  conquer 
the  celestial  powers,  subjugate  the  aerial  and  terrestrial  to- 
gether with  the  infernal;  invoke,  transmit,  conjure,  con- 
strain, excite,  gather,  disperse,  bind,  and  restore  unharmed; 
*Sloane  3854,  fol.  ii4r. 

of  Saturn. 


will  placate  men  and  gain  petitions  from  them  graciously, 
pacify  enemies,"  ^  etc.,  etc. 

The  spirits  associated  with  the  planet  Saturn  are  Bohel,  Spirits 
Casziel,  Uuchathon,  and  Dacdel.  Their  nature  is  to  cause 
sadness  and  wrath  and  hate,  to  produce  ice  and  snow.  Their 
bodies  are  long  and  large,  pale  or  golden.  Their  region  is 
in  the  north  and  they  have  five  or  nine  demons  under  them.^ 
As  a  rule  spirits. of  the  north  and  south  are  ferocious,  those 
of  the  east  and  the  west  gentle.^ 

'  Sloane  3854,   fols.    Ii4r-ii5v.         XLII,  fol.  67V. 

''Ibid.,   fol.    I29v;    Royal    17-A-         '  Sloane  3854,  fol.  I3ar. 



Ontirocritica  of  Artemidorus — Astrampsychos  and  Nicephorus — 
Achmet  translated  by  Leo  Tuscus — Byzantine  and  oriental  divinations 
by  Daniel — Latin  Dream-Books  of  Daniel — Sompniale  dilucidartum 
Pharaonis — An  anonymous  exposition  of  dreams — Physiological  origin 
of  dreams — Origin  and  justification  of  the  art  of  interpretation — 
Sources  of  the  present  treatise — Demoniac  and  natural  causes  of 
dreams — Interpretation — William  of  Aragon  on  prognostication  from 
dreams — Who  was  William  of  Aragon? — His  work  formerly  ascribed 
to  Arnald  of  Villanova — Another  anonymous  work  on  dreams. 


critica  of 

Both  Jews  and  Greeks  at  the  beginning  of  the  Christian 
era  were  much  given  to  the  interpretation  of  dreams.  There 
were  "estabHshed  and  frequented  dreaming  places"  at  the 
shrines  of  Asclepius  at  Epidaurus,  Amphiaraus  at  Oropus, 
Amphilochus  at  Mallos,  Sarpedon  in  the  Troad,  Trophonius 
at  Lebedea,  Mopsus  in  CiHcia,  Hermonia  in  Macedon,  and 
Pasiphae  in  Laconia.  We  hear  of  dream-books  by  Artemon, 
Antiphon,  Strato,  Philochoros,  Epicharmus,  Serapion,  Cra- 
tippus,  Dionysius  of  Rhodes,  and  Hermippus  of  Beirut.  But 
the  chief  work  upon  the  interpretation  of  dreams  which  has 
reached  us  from  the  time  of  the  Roman  Empire  is  that  of 
Artemidorus,  who  was  born  at  Ephesus  and  Hved  in  Lydia 
in  the  time  of  the  Antonines.  He  of  course  wrote  in  Greek 
and,  despite  the  superstitious  character  of  his  work,  in  a 
pure  and  refined  Attic  style.  The  'Oi'etpoKpirtKa  has  also 
been    translated    into   Latin,    French,    and    Italian.^     It    is 

^  Cockayne,  Anglo-Saxon 
Leechdoms,  RS  vol.  35,  1864-1866, 
IIL  X.  The  'OveipoKpiriKa  was 
printed  by  the  Aldine  press  at 
Venice,  15 18;  a  Latin  translation 
by  Cornarius  appeared  at  Basel, 
1539;  it  was  published  in  both 
Latin  and  Greek  by  N.   Rigaltius 

at  Paris,  1603 ;  the  modern  edi- 
tion is  by  R.  Hercher,  Leipzig, 

I  have  not  seen  P.  Diepgen, 
Traum  iind  Traumdeutung 
als  mcdisiii isch-natunvissenschaft- 
liches  Problem  im  Mittelalter, 
Berlin,  1912. 



a  compilation  in  five  books  gathered  from  previous  literature 
on  the  subject  and  by  the  author  personally  in  travel  in 
Greece,  Italy,  and  elsewhere.  The  first  thirteen  chapters 
of  the  fourth  book,  which  Artemidorus  opens  with  a  general 
instruction  to  his  son,  deal  with  such  preliminary  and  gen- 
eral considerations  as  the  different  types  of  dreams  and  more 
especially  those  divinely  sent,  the  significance  of  times,  the 
personal  qualifications  requisite  in  the  interpreter,  and  cer- 
tain rules  of  interpretation  such  as  that  native  customs  are 
good  signs  and  foreign  ways  bad  signs  in  dreams.  But  the 
great  bulk  of  the  work  consists  of  specific  interpretation  ar- 
ranged either  under  topical  headings  such  as  "Concerning 
Nativity,"  or  listed  as  single  dreams. 

In  the  edition  of   1603  ^  the  work  of  Artemidorus  is   Astram- 
followed  by  much  briefer  metrical  treatises  on  the   same   and^ Nice- 
subject  by  Astrampsychos  and  Nicephorus.^     These  poems,    phorus 
if  they  may  be  so  called,  devote  a  line  of  interpretation  to 
each  of  the  things  seen  in  dreams,  and  these  verses  are  ar- 
ranged in  alphabetical  order.    This  was  to  be  the  method  of 
arrangement  adopted  in  the  medieval  dream-books  ascribed 
to  the  prophet  Daniel.     Astrampsychos  is  first  named  by 
Diogenes  Laertius  ^  in  the  early  third  century.     He  was 
supposed  to  have  been  one  of  the  Persian  Magi,  and  other 
occult  treatises  are  ascribed  to  him,  including  astrological 
writings,  a  book  of  oracles  addressed  to  Ptolemy,  and  love 
charms  in  a  papyrus  in  the  British  Museum.* 

Still  another  work  on  the  interpretation  of  dreams  con-   Achmet 
tained  in  the  edition  of  1603  ^  is  ascribed  to  "Achmet,  the    byTio^^'^ 


*  Its  full  title  reads :  Artemidori  Gallaeus. 

Daldiani   et  Achmetis  Screimi  F.  '  Proem.  2. 

(filius)   Oneirocritica.    Astranpsy-  ''Papyrus  122. 

chi     et    Nicephori    versus    etiain  "  See  note  i  on  this  page.     The 

Oneirocritici.     Nicolai  Rigaltii  ad  work    was    previously    printed    at 

Artemidorum  Notae.    Paris.    1603.  Frankfort    under    the    title    Apo- 

'  They  cover  only  twenty  pages  masaris    Apotelcsmata   or   Prcdic- 

in   large   type  as   against  the  269  tions    of    Albumasar.      There    is 

pages  of  small  type  of  Artemido-  some  matter  missing  at  the  begin- 

rus.      Astrampsychos      was      also  ning  of  both  of  these  editions  of 

published   at   Amsterdam   in    1689  the  work, 
with  the   Oracula  Sibyllina  by  S. 



son  of  Sereim"  or  Ahmed  ben  Sirin.^  The  Greek  text 
states  that  he  was  interpreter  of  dreams  to  Mamoun,  the 
first  minister  of  the  CaHph,  which  fixes  his  date  as  about 
820  A.  D.2  Perhaps  he  is  the  same  Achmet  who  wrote  an 
astrological  treatise  extant  in  Greek  which  he  says  he 
compiled  from  books  from  Adam's  time  to  the  present  day.^ 
Of  the  work  on  dreams  there  is  a  Latin  version  in  the 
medieval  manuscripts  translated  from  the  Greek  by  Leo 
Tuscus,^  who  died  in  1182  and  was  interpreter  of  imperial 
letters  in  the  time  of  the  Byzantine  emperor,  Manuel  Com- 
nenus.   Leo  prefixes  to  his  translation  a  prologue  addressed  ^ 

^  Rigaltius,  however,  states  that 
Achmet's  name  did  not  appear  in 
either  of  the  two  Latin  MSS  at 
Paris  which  he  used,  nor  in  the 
Greek  one ;  but  the  opening  of  his 
text,  as  just  stated  in  the  previous 
note,  seems  defective. 

On  Ahmed  ben  Sirin  see: 
Drexl,  Achmets  Traumbuch 
{Einleitung  und  Probe  eines 
kritischen  Textes),  Munich  dis- 
sertation, 1909;  and  articles  by 
Steinschneider  in  Zeitschrift  d. 
deutsch.  Morgenl.  Gescllschaft, 
XVII,  227-44,  and  Vienna  Sitz- 
ungsberichte,  Phil-hist.  Kl. 
CLXIX,  53  and  CLI,  2:  cited  by 
Haskins    (1918),  p.  494,  note   12. 

*Krumbacher   (1897),  p.  630. 

''Cat.  Cod.  Astral.  Grace.,  II, 
122,  Achmet,  De  introductione  et 
fundamcnto   cstrologiae.     r) -n-olTjcns 

rOVTOV      TOV       TOiOVTOV      ^iffXioV      f/C     ri'J' 

'AxM^Ti??,  ocrrts  '.'S  t4>r}  awrj^t  to.  /3i(3Xia 
TO.  tvpiffKoneva  aird  roii  'Adan  nkxfii-  t^s 
avTOv  rjfiepas. 

Since  this  astrological  ^ork 
mentions  Albumasar,  while  Ach- 
met, the  author  of  the  dream- 
book,  wrote  early  in  the  ninth 
century,  the  editors  of  the  Cata- 
logus  doubt  if  the  two  Achmets 
are  the  same,  but  it  should  be 
noted  that  in  the  astrological  trea- 
tise Achmet  is  spoken  of  in  the 
third  person  and  that  it  may  be  a 
re-editing  of  his  original  work. 
On  the  other  hand,  perhaps  this 
astrological  Achmet  is  Alphra- 
ganus.   or   Ahmetus   filius  Ahmeti 

(Ameti),  as  he  is  often  called. 

*  C.  H.  Haskins,  Leo  Tuscus,  in 
EHR  (1918),  pp.  492-6.  Leo's 
activity  as  a  translator  is  further 
attested  by  BN  1002,  "Liturgia 
sancti  Joannis  Chrysostomi," 
printed  in  Claudius  de  Sainctes, 
Liturgiae  sive  Missac  Sanetorum 
Patrum,  Antwerp,  1562,  fol.  49. 

"  Haskins,  op.  cit.,  prints  the 
prologue  from  the  first  of  the  fol- 
lowing MSS  of  Leo's  Latin  trans- 

Digby  103,  late  12th  century, 
fol.  59-,  "Ad  Hugonem  Ecerialium 
doctorem  suum  et  utraque  origine 
fratrem  Leo  Tuscus  imperatoria- 
rum  epistolarum  interpres  de 
sompniis  et  oraculis."  '"Explicit 
liber  sompniorum  Latine  doctus 
loqui  a  Leone  Thusco  imperialium 
epistolarum  interprete  tempori- 
bus  magni  imperatoris  Manuel." 
Neither  this  Titulus  to  the  pro- 
logue nor  this  Explicit  appears 
in  the  printed  edition  of  1603. 

Wolfenbiittel  2917,  I3-I4th  cen- 
tury, fols.  1-20,  "Ad  Hugonem 
Eteriarium  doctorem  summum  et 
utraque  origine  fratrem  Leo  Tus- 
cus imperatoriarum  epistolarum 
interpres  de  somniis  et  oraculis. 
Quamquam,  optime  preceptor,  in- 
victum  imperatorem  Manuel  se- 
quar  per  fines  Bithinie  Licaonieque 
f  ugantem  Persas."  H  a  s  k  i  n  s 
(1918),  p.  494,  shows  that  this 
statement  applies  to  the  year  11 76 
rather  than  11 60-1 161  as  scholars 
have  previously  held. 

Haskins  also  lists  the  following 



to  his  brother  Hugo  Eterianus  or  Eteriarius  (Ecerialius). 
This  work  of  Achmet  is  of  about  the  same  length  as  that  of 
Artemidorus  and  contains  over  three  hundred  chapters.  It 
is  or  pretends  to  be  drawn  mainly  from  Indian,  Persian,  and 
Egyptian  sources  and  often  cites  in  turn  the  doctrine  or 
interpretation  of  those  three  peoples,  or  mentions  by  name 
interpreters  of  dreams  of  the  kings  and  pharaohs  of  those 
countries.^  The  preface  states  that  the  same  dream  must  be 
interpreted  differently  in  the  case  of  king  and  commoner,  of 
rich  and  poor,  and  according  to  sex.  The  time  of  the  dream 
must  also  be  taken  into  account.  For  example,  to  see  a  tree 
blossom  is  a  good  sign  in  spring  but  a  bad  omen  in  autumn. 
The  hour  of  the  night  when  the  dream  occurs  and  the  phases 
of  the  moon  are  other  time  factors  which  must  be  reckoned 
with.  The  remainder  of  the  treatise  is  devoted  to  specific  in- 
terpretation of  dreams. 

To  Joseph  and  Daniel,  as  the  chief  Biblical  interpreters  Byzantine 
of  dreams,  books  on  the  subject  were  assigned  in  the  mid- 
dle ages,  as  John  of  Salisbury  has  informed  us.  Daniel, 
however,  seems  to  have  been  the  greater  favorite.  Liut- 
prand  the  Lombard,  who  died  in  972,  says  in  the  account 
of  his  embassy  to  Constantinople,  "The  Greeks  and  Saracens 
have  books  which  they  call  the  horaseis,  or  Visions,  of  Dan- 
iel, but  I  should  call  them  Sibylline.  In  them  is  found  writ- 
ten how  many  years  each  emperor  will  live,  and  what  will 
be  the  character  of  his  reign,  whether  peace  or  strife, 
whether  favorable  or  hostile  relations  with  the  Saracens."  ^ 

tions by 

MSS:  Harleian  4025,  fols.  8-78; 
Ashmole  179;  Vatic.  Lat.  4094, 
fols.  1-32V;  but  does  not  mention 
these : 

BN  72,2,7,  15th  century,  pp.  141- 
61,  which  has  the  same  Titulus 
^nd  includes  the  prologue,  a  table 
of  198  chapters,  and  the  text  as 
far  as  the  37th  chapter,  De  ventre. 

Vienna  5221,  15th  century,  136 
fols.,  "Laborans  laboraui  in- 
veniendum .../...  huiusmodi 
egritudinem  jnueniret.  Explicit 
liber  sompniorum  latine  doctus 
loqui  a  leone  Imperialium  epis- 
tolarum      interprete      temporibus 

Magni    Imperatoris    Manuel." 

^  Preface,  "ac  primo  quidem 
secundum  Indorum  doctrinam, 
deinde  Persarum,  tum  denique 
Aegyptiorum" ;  cap.  2,  "Strbachan 
regis  Indorum  interpres  ait" ;  cap. 
3,  "Baram  Interpres  Saanissae 
Persarum  regi" ;  cap.  4,  "Tarphan 
Interpres  Pharaonis  regis  Aegyp- 

'  Quoted  by  Haskins  and  Lock- 
wood,  The  Sicilian  Translators, 
1910,  p.  93,  from  the  Legatio,  ed. 
Diimmler,  Hanover,  1877,  PP- 



Books  of 

A  brief  set  of  Greek  verses  in  alphabetical  order  ascribed 
to  the  emperor  Leo,  which  occur  in  a  late  manuscript  with 
various  works  of  the  fathers,  seem  to  resemble  the  Latin 
alphabetical  dream-books  of  which  we  shall  presently  treat. ^ 
Works  of  divination  were  also  attributed  to  Daniel  in  Syriac 
and  Arabic,  such  as  predictions  of  rain,  hail,  and  the  Hke  for 
each  day  of  the  year,  and  of  eclipses  and  earthquakes,^  or 
astrological  forecasts  for  each  month  of  the  year.^  There 
is  even  a  geomancy  in  Turkish  ascribed  to  the  prophet 

Dream-Books  ascribed  to  the  prophet  Daniel  are  found  in 
Latin  manuscripts  at  least  as  early  as  the  tenth  century,  and 
continue  through  the  fifteenth  century  despite  the  denial  of 
their  authenticity  by  John  of  Salisbury  in  the  twelfth  cen- 
tury. At  least  three  different  types  of  Dream-Books  of 
Daniel  are  represented  in  incunabula  editions  in  the  British 
Museum.^     The  Dream-Book  of  Joseph  occurs  with  less 

*BN  3282,  17th  century,  fols. 
27v-29r,  Leonis  (sapientis)  imp. 
versus  alphabetici  de  future  ju- 

"Bodleian  3004,  ft  15  (Qu, 
Catal.  VI,  Syriac,  ft  161),  Arabice 
literis  Syriacis. 

'Alger  1517  and  1518,  in  Arabic 
but  according  to  the  months  of  the 
Syrian  year. 

*  Additional  9702. 

'Sonia  Daniel'  (I  A. 8754), 
"Danielis  somniorum  expositoris 
veridici  libellus  incipit.  .  .  .  Ego 
sum  daniel  propheta  unus  de  isra- 
helitis  qui  captivi  ducti  sunt.  .  .  ." 

Somnia  Danielis  et  Joseph 
(IA.31744),  "Omnes  prophete 
tradebant  somnia  que  videbant  in 
somniis  eorum  et  solus  propheta 
Daniel  filius  lude  qui  captus  a 
rege  Nabuchudonosor.  .  .  ."  This 
is  followed  by  a  second  treatise 
which  opens,  "Incipiunt  somnia 
quae  composuit  Joseph  dum  cap- 
tus erat  a  rege  Pharaone  in 
egypto.  .  .  ." 

Interpretationcs  somniorum 

Danielis  prophete  revelate  ah 
angelo  tnisso  a  deo  (I.\.ii6o7, 
and  IA.18164  is  very  similar). 

The  Incipit  in  the  second  edi- 
tion is  given  in  more  nearly  cor- 
rect form  in  Sloane  3281,  I3-I4th 
century,  fol.  39r,  "Omnes  homines 
tradebant  sompnia  que  trade- 
bant (?)  ut  solveret  propheta 
daniel.  .  .  ." 

Another  opening,  found  in  the 
MSS,  states  that  the  princes  of 
Babylonia  asked  the  prophet 
Daniel  to  interpret  their  dreams. 
See  Digby  86,  late  13th  century^ 
fols.  34v-40r,  "Daniel  propheta 
petebatur  a  principiis  civitatis 
Babilone  ut  somnia  que  eis  vide- 
bantur  solvere  (solveret?).  Tunc 
sedit  et  hec  omnia  scribat  (et) 
tradidit  populo  ad  legendum." 
The  first  two  lines  of  interpreta- 
tion are : 

"Arma  in  somniis  portare  securi- 
tatem    significat; 

Arcum  tendere  et  sagittas  mit- 
tere  lucrum  vel  laborem  sig- 
("To  bear  arms  in  dreams  signi- 
fies security ; 

To  draw  bow  and  shoot  arrows 
signifies  gain   or  labor.") 

Bodleian  177  (Bernard  2072), 
latp   14th  century,   fol.  64r,  opens 


frequency.^  These  Latin  Dream-Books  do  not  go  into  de- 
tails of  politics  like  the  Byzantine  books  which  Liutprand 
described.  The  simplest  form,  which  we  have  already  men- 
tioned in  speaking  of  the  Moon-Books  of  the  tenth  and  elev- 
enth centuries,  is  according  to  the  days  of  the  moon.^  It  is 
often  embodied  in  the  fuller  versions.  Their  usual  arrange- 
ment is  an  alphabetical  list  of  objects  seen  in  dreams  with  a 
line  of  interpretation  for  each  and  perhaps  a  page  for  each 
letter  of  the  alphabet.    Sample  lines  are  : 

Aereni  serenum  videre  lucrum  significat 

("To  see  a  clear  sky  signifies  gain") 

Intestina  sua  videre  secreta  manifesta 

("To  see  one's  own  intestines  means  secrets  revealed") 

This  alphabetical  arrangement  already  appears  in  the  early 
manuscripts.^  Sometimes,  however,  the  procedure  is  by 
opening  the  Psalter  at  random,  taking  the  first  letter  on  the 
page  opened  to,  and  then  referring  to  a  list  where  the  let- 
ters of  the  alphabet  have  various  significations,  such  as  "A 
signifies  power  of  delight,"  "B  signifies  victory  in  war."  * 
This  last  method  might,  of  course,  be  employed  without 
having  any  dream  at  all,  and  perhaps  should  not  be  regarded 
as  a  Dream-Book.  It  is  interesting  to  note  that  in  one  manu- 
script it  is  called  Experiments  of  Daniel.     In  these  books  of 

somewhat    differently,    "Danielem  of   tenth   century,    fol.    16,   "Som- 

prophetam  cum  esset  in  Babilonia  nium   Danielis  prophete.     Luna  I. 

petebant    principes,"    and    its    first  Quidquid  videris  ad  gaudium  per- 

two  lines  of  interpretation  are :  tinet.     Luna    II    et    III    et    IIII. 

"Aves    cum    se    pugnare    videre  Bonus  affectus  erit,"  etc. 

fecundiam  significat;  'Tiberius   A-III,    fols.  25V-30V; 
Aves  in  sompniis  apprehendere  Titus     D-XXVI,     fols.     iiv-i6r; 
lucrum    significat."  Sloane  475,  fols.  2i7v-2i8r,  break- 
("To  see  birds  fight  among  them-  ing  off  in  the  midst  of  the  letter 
selves  signifies  fecundity ;  B.      In    Harleian    3017,    fol.    iv-. 
To  catch  birds  in  one's  dreams  however,   the   lines   of   interpreta- 
signifies  gain.")  tion  are  not  in  alphabetical  order. 
*  For  a  printed   edition   see   the  *  This  is  the  method  in  the  sec- 
second  item  in  the  preceding  note.  ond    part    of    the    printed    edition 
CLM    7806,     14th    century,    fol.  numbered    IA.87S4   in   the    British 
153.  where  as  in  the  printed  edi-  Museum.     See     also :     BN     7453, 
tion  it  follows  a  Dream-Book  of  14th   century,   1 3,  Ars  psalterii  a 
Daniel.  Daniele    inventa;    BN    7349,    15th 
Vatican  Palat.  330,  15th  century,  century,  Danielis  experimenta  sive 
fol.  303V.  modus     divinandi     ad     aperturam 
'For  instance,  Chartres  90,  end  psalterii  et  conjiciendi  per  somnia. 



Daniel  further  instructions  are  sometimes  given,  as  when 
it  is  stated  that  dreams  which  occur  before  midnight  are  of 
no  value  for  purposes  of  interpretation,  or  when  one  is  told 
before  opening  the  Psalter  to  repeat  on  bended  knees  a  Lord's 
Prayer,  Ave  Maria,  and  Miserere.  Days  to  be  observed  are 
also  sometimes  mentioned  as  a  sort  of  accompaniment  to  the 
Dream-Book:  forty  dangerous  days  "which  the  masters  of 
the  Greeks  have  tested  by  experiment,"  ^  "bromantic  days" 
from  the  twenty-fourth  of  November  to  the  eighteenth  of 
December,  and  "perentalic  days"  from  the  first  of  January 
to  the  first  of  March.  "And  these  are  the  days  when  the 
leaves  fall  from  the  trees,"  which  is  apparently  supposed  to 
have  a  disturbing  effect  upon  the  clarity  of  dreams.^ 
Sompniale  A  Sompniale  dilucidariiim  Pharaonis,  as  it  is  entitled  in 

dariuin        *^^  manuscript  of  it  which  I  have  examined,^  or  Morale 
Pha-  soninimn  Pharaonis,  as  it  is  called  in  the  printed  editions,* 

was  addressed  by  a  John  of  Limoges  ^  to  Theobald,  King 
of  Navarre  and  Count  of  Champagne  and  Brie,  who  died  in 
12 16.®  It  is  really  not  a  Dream-Book  but  a  series  of  imag- 
inary and  fulsomely  rhetorical  letters  between  Pharaoh  and 
his  Magi,  Pharaoh  and  Joseph,  and  Joseph  and  adulators  and 
detractors.  John  states  in  his  introductory  letter  to  Theo- 
bald that  the  famous  dream  of  Pharaoh  will  here  be  "mor- 
ally expounded  concerning  royal  discipline."  Pharaoh  typi- 
fies any  curious  king;  Egypt  stands  for  any  studious  king- 
dom ;   Joseph  represents  any  virtuous  counselor ;   and  the 

*  Ashmole     361,     14th     century,       printed  at  Altdorf,  1690,  by  J.  C 
fols.  158V-IS9.  Wagenseil,  and  in  Fabricius,  Cod. 

'  Sloane  3281,   fol.  39r;   also  in  Pseud.    Vet.    Test.,    1713,    I,   441- 

IA.31744,    except    that   the    names  96.      For    letters    19    and    20    see 

are  misspelled.  Fabricius,  Bibl.  Med.  et  Inf.  Lat., 

^  St.    John's    172,    isth    century,  1754,  IV,  91-4. 

fols.  99V-123,  where  the  work  is  "Joannes      Lemovicensis ;      but 

rather   appropriately   preceded   by  Fabricius    calls    him    "Joannes    a 

two    treatises    on    Ars    dictaminis.  Launha,      Lemovicensis."       Steele 

Our    author,    according    to    Fab-  ( 1920)    p.   i.x,  calls  him  "Jean  de 

ricius,    Bibl.    Med.    et    Inf.    Lat.,  Launha   or   de   Limoges." 

Padua,    1754,    IV,   90,   also   wrote  'Steele    (1920)    p.   ix,  however, 

De  Stylo  dictionario.     Other  MSS  says,  "but  modern  scholars  put  the 

of  the  Sompniale  are  CUL  Dd.  iv.  date  as  about   1250,  a  much  more 

35,  15th  century,  fols.  49r-73v,  and  probable    one."      Steele    does    not 

li.  vi.  34.  add  his  references  or  reasons  for 

*  The     first      18     letters      were  this  statement. 



dream  will  be  interpolated  with  flowers  of  rhetoric  and 

More  elaborate  and  making  more  pretense  to  philosoph- 
ical character  than  the  brief  Dream-Books  of  Daniel  is 
an  anonymous  work  on  dreams  contained  in  a  Paris  manu- 
script of  apparently  the  later  part  of  the  thirteenth  century.^ 
It  is  the  first  treatise  in  the  manuscript,  which  further  con- 
tains two  important  works  of  the  first  half  of  the  twelfth 
century,  namely,  the  Imago  mundi  of  Honorius  of  Autun 
and  the  De  phUosophia  of  William  of  Conches.  The  texts 
of  these  two  latter  works  are  much  cut  up  and  intermixed 
with  each  other.  It  is  therefore  not  unlikely  that  the  opening 
treatise  on  dreams  is  also  a  work  of  the  twelfth  century,  al- 
though there  does  not  seem  to  be  much  reason  for  ascribing  it 
either  to  Honorius  of  Autun  or  William  of  Conches.  A  long 
prohemiiim  fails  to  throw  much  light  upon  the  personality  of 
the  author ,  but  the  work  does  not  seem  to  be  a  translation. 
That  it  is  not  earlier  than  the  twelfth  century  is  indicated 
by  its  citation  of  the  Viaticum  and  Passionariits,  presum- 
ably the  well  known  medical  works  of  Constantine  Af- 
ricanus  and  Gariopontus," — unless  indeed  it  be  by  Constan- 
tinus  himself,  to  some  of  whose  views  it  shows  a  resemblance. 

The  preface  opens  by  stating  that  a  desirable  treasure 
lies  hidden  in  the  heart  of  the  wise  but  that  it  is  of  no  utility 
unless  it  is  revealed.     In  other  words,  dreams  must  be  in- 

*  BN     1661O,     fols.     2T-24T,     Ex- 

positio  somniorum.  It  opens,  "The- 
saurus occultus  requiescit  in 
corde  sapientis  et  immo  desidera- 
bilis  sed  in  thesauro  occulto  et 
in  sapientia  abscondita  nulla  pene 
utilitas  ergo  revelanda  sunt  ab- 
scondita et  patefacienda  que  sunt 
occulta."  It  closes,  ".  .  .  ventus 
si  flavit  in  hyeme  calidus  fructus 
frugisque  in  illo  loco  erit  copia 
frigidus  et  acer  (?)  ventus  in 
hyeme  visus  per  sompnium  con- 
trarium  in  messe  significat  si 
frigidus.  Explicit  expositio  som- 

The  mistakes  made  in  the  text 
in  such  matters  as  case-endings 
and     abbreviations     indicate     that 

An  anony- 
mous Ex- 
position of 

our  MS  is  not  by  the  hand  of  the 
author  but  by  that  of  some  later 
and  careless  copyist.  A  number 
of  corrections  of  the  text  have 
been  made  in  the  margin  or  be- 
tween the  lines,  and  apparently 
the  same  hand  has  written  in  the 
margin  or  between  the  lines  a 
number  of  headings  to  indicate 
the  contents.  These  occur  chiefly, 
however,  towards  the  close  of  the 

'  BN  16610,  f  ol.  7v,  "Fiunt  pre- 
terea  sompnia  secundum  quali- 
tates  ciborum  et  humorum  a 
quibus  et  certissima  signa  ut 
diximus  cuiusque  infirmitatis  capi- 
untur  sicut  in  viatico  et  passio- 
nario  demonstrantur." 

origin  of 



Origin  and 
tion of 
the  art  of 

of  the 

terpreted.  The  author  regards  dreams,  hke  thoughts  in 
general,  as  beginning  with  the  spiritns  which  rises  from  the 
heart  and  ascends  through  two  arteries  to  the  brain. ^  Our 
author  perhaps  still  holds  to  Aristotle's  view  of  the  impor- 
tance of  the  heart  in  the  nervous  system  as  against  Galen's 
exclusive  emphasis  upon  the  brain,  since  he  allots  the  heart 
a  share  even  in  mental  processes ;  and  he  seems  to  be  igno- 
rant of  Galen's  discovery  that  the  arteries  contain  blood  and 
not  spiritiis. 

The  preface  goes  on  to  justify  the  study  of  dreams  on 
the  ground  that  "the  most  ancient  Magi  and  perfect  phy- 
sicians" thereby  adjudged  to  each  man  health  and  sickness, 
Hfe  and  death.  "Medicine  and  divine  thoughts,  dreams, 
visions,  or  oracles  are  not  prohibited,  but  demoniacal  incan- 
tations, sorcery,  lot-castings,  insomnia,  and  vain  phantasms 
are  condemned  that  you  may  not  readily  trust  in  them."  " 
No  doctrine  is  to  be  spurned  wholesale,  but  only  what  is 
vicious  in  it.  Shadrach,  Meshach,  and  Abednego  excelled 
all  the  Magi  and  soothsayers  of  the  Chaldeans.  Our  author 
explains  that  among  the  Chaldeans  then  as  today  learning 
consisted  not  of  the  philosophy  and  sophistry  of  the  Greeks 
and  Latins,  but  of  astronomy  and  interpretations  of  dreams. 
He  alludes  to  a  prayer  of  seven  verses  which  they  repeat 
when  going  to  bed  in  order  to  receive  responses  in  dreams. 
They  pay  little  heed  to  the  superficial  meaning  of  their 
dreams,  but  by  examining  the  inner  meaning  they  learn  either 
past  or  future.  The  author  exhorts  the  person  to  whom  he 
addresses  the  preface  to  do  the  same,  laying  aside  all  terrors 
that  dreams  may  arouse  in  him.  He  points  out  that  inter- 
pretation of  dreams  has  Biblical  sanction  and  that  Joseph, 
Daniel,  and  Marduch  all  profited  thereby. 

As  for  the  present  treatise,  it  is  collected  from  divine 
and  human  scripture,  based  upon  experience  as  well  as  rea- 

^  The  point  is  repeated  in  the 
text  proper  at  fol.  4r.  In  the 
preface  at  fol.  2r  the  author  also 
states  that  a  small  boy  can  be 
put   into   a   stupor   when   standing 

up>    by    pressing   his    arteries   be- 
tween the  thumb  and  forefinger  so 
that     "the     vapor     of     the    heart 
cannot  ascend  to  the  brain." 
^Ibid.,  fol.  3r. 



son,  and  drawn  from  Latins,  Greeks,  Persians,  and  the  an- 
nals of  Pharaoh  and  Nebuchadnezzar  in  which  many  of  their 
dreams  are  recorded,  for  the}'  were  both  lovers  of  the  fu- 
ture and,  since  they  had  no  philosophers  like  the  Gentiles, 
God  allowed  them  as  a  compensation  to  foresee  the  future 
in  dreams.  For  by  dreams  life  and  death,  poverty  and  riches, 
sickness  and  health,  sorrow  and  joy,  flight  and  victory,  are 
known  more  easily  than  through  astrology,  a  more  difficult 
and  manifold  art.^  But  lest  his  introduction  grow  too  long, 
the  author  at  this  point  ends  it  and  begins  the  text  proper. 

After  stating  what  a  dream  is,  the  author  discusses  the 
origin  and  causes  of  dreams  further.  Some  are  from  the 
devil  or  at  least  are  influenced  by  demons,  as  when  a  monk 
was  led  to  become  a  Jew  by  a  dream  in  which  he  saw  Moses 
with  a  chorus  of  angels  in  white,  while  Christ  was  sur- 
rounded by  men  in  black.  But  when  we  see  chimeras  in 
dreams,  this  is  generally  due  to  impurity  of  the  blood.  The 
author  also  opines  that,  while  the  sage  can  judge  from  the 
nature  of  the  dream  whether  there  is  fallacy  and  illusion  of 
the  demon  in  it,  the  origin  of  virtues  and  vices  is  mainly  in 
ourselves.  He  who  goes  to  sleep  with  an  easy  conscience  is 
unlikely  to  be  disturbed  by  nightmares  and  is  more  likely  in 
quiet  slumber  to  behold  secrets  and  mysteries.  The  author 
next  discusses  the  effect  of  the  passions  and  exercise  of  the 
mental  faculties  upon  the  liver,  heart,  and  brain.  He  adopts 
the  common  medieval  view  that  the  brain  contains  three  ven- 
tricles devoted  respectively  to  imagination,  reason,  and  mem- 
ory. He  explains  that  the  so-called  incubus,  popularly 
thought  of  as  a  dwarf  or  satyr  who  sits  on  the  sleeper,  is 
really  a  feeling  of  suffocation  produced  by  blood-pressure 
near  the  heart.  The  interpretation  of  a  dream  must  vary 
according  to  the  social  rank  of  the  person  concerned.  As 
images  in  a  mirror  deceive  the  ordinary  observer  but  are 
readily  accounted  for  by  the  geometer,  and  as  the  philoso- 
pher notes  the  significations  of  other  planets  than  the  sun 
and  moon,  whose  effects  alone  impress  tne  vulgar  herd,  so 

'BN  16610,  fol.  3v. 

and  natu- 
ral causes 
of  dreams. 




of  Aragon 


there  are  dreams  which  only  a  skilled  interpreter  can  ex- 
plain. Dreams  are  affected  by  food  and  by  the  humors  pre- 
vailing in  the  body,  and  also  by  the  occult  virtues  of  gems, 
of  which  a  list  is  given  from  "Evax"  or  Marbod.^ 

The  second  book  takes  up  again  the  varying  significa- 
tions of  dreams  according  to  the  person  concerned,  and  also 
the  significance  of  the  time  of  the  dream.  The  four  sea- 
sons, the  phases  of  the  moon,  nativity  of  the  dreamer,  and 
hour  of  the  night  are  discussed.  The  remaining  two-thirds 
of  the  treatise  consists  in  stating  the  interpretation  to  be 
placed  upon  the  varied  persons  and  things  seen  in  dreams, 
beginning  with  God  and  Jesus  Christ,  and  continuing  with 
crucifixes,  idols,  statues,  bells,  hell,  the  resurrection  of  the 
dead,  and  so  on  and  so  forth.  Early  mention  of  eunuchs 
and  icons  suggests  a  Byzantine  source.  More  especially  in 
the  last  third  of  the  treatise,  various  marginal  headings 
indicate  that  the  interpretations  are  "according  to  the  In- 
dians" or  "according  to  the  Persians  and  Egyptians,"  which 
suggests  that  use  is  being  made  of  the  work  of  Achmet  or 
of  Leo  Tuscus'  translation  thereof. 

The  influence  of  Achmet's  work  is  also  seen  in  a  treatise 
on  the  prognostication  of  dreams  compiled  by  master  Will- 
iam of  Aragon.^  It  opens  by  referring  to  the  labors  in  this 
art  of  the  ancient  philosophers  of  India,  Persia,  Egypt,  and 
Greece,  and  later  it  cites  Smarchas  the  Indian,^  whom  I  take 
to  be  the  same  as  the  Strbachan  of  Achmet's  second  chapter. 
WilHam  justifies  writing  his  treatise  by  saying  that  while 
there  may  be  many  Dream-Books  in  existence  already,  they 
are  mere  Practice  and  without  reason,  while  he  intends  to 
base  the  prediction  of  the  future  from  dreams  upon  rational 

^  BN  16610,  fols.  4r-8r.  In  my 
summary  I  have  followed  the 
order  of  the  text  for  the  first 

*  BN  7486,  fols.  2-i6r,  "Incipit 
liber  de  pronosticationibus  somp- 
niorum  a  magistro  Guillelmo  de 
aragonia  compilatus.  Philoso- 
phantes  antiques  sive  yndos  sive 
persos  sive  egyptios  sive  grecos." 

St.  John's  172,  early  15th  cen- 
tury, fols.  140-52,  where  it  appears 

It  is  listed  in  the  15th  century 
catalogue  of  MSS  in  St.  Augus- 
tine's Abbey,  Canterbury,  1545, 
Tractatus  W.  de  Arrogon  de  in- 
terpretatione   sompniorum. 

'  Simarchardus,  as  printed  in 
the  works  of  .\rnald  of  Villanova. 



speculation,  and  to  support  his  particular  reasoning  by 
specific  examples.^  He  makes  more  use  of  Aristotle's  classi- 
fication of  dreams  -  than  the  anonymous  work  just  consid- 
ered, from  which  he  further  differs  in  dwelling  more  upon 
the  connection  of  dreams  with  the  constellations.^  The 
second  part  of  his  treatise  consists  of  twelve  chapters  de- 
voted to  the  twelve  astrological  houses.^  Earlier  he  men- 
tions that  at  the  nativity  of  Alexander  an  eagle  with  ex- 
tended wings  rested  all  day  on  the  roof  of  the  palace  of  his 
father  Philip.^  In  stating  the  signification  of  various  ob- 
jects William  has  a  chapter  on  what  different  parts  of  the 
human  body  signify  when  seen  in  dreams.®  Like  our  pre- 
vious works  on  divination  from  dreams,  he  lays  considerable 
stress  upon  experience,  illustrating  his  statement  that  dreams 
are  often  due  to  bodily  ills  by  cases  which  "I  have  seen,"  '^ 
and  also  asserting  that  it  is  shown  by  experience  that  dreams 
seen  on  the  first  four  days  of  the  week  are  most  quickly 

This  William  of  Aragon  is  no  doubt  the  same  who  com- 
mented upon  the  Centiloquium  ascribed  to  Ptolemy.^  From 
his  medical  experience  and  his  tendency  to  give  an  astro- 
logical explanation  for  everything  one  is  tempted  to  identify 
him  further  with  the  William  Anglicus  or  William  of  Mar- 
seilles who  wrote  the  treatise  of  astrological  medicine  en- 
titled, Of  Urine  Unseen,  in  the  year  12 19,  but  it  is  of  course 
unlikely  that  the  same  man  would  be  called  of  Aragon  as 
well  as  of  England  and  Marseilles  or  that  the  words 
Anglicus  and  Aragonia  should  be  confused  by  copyists. 

The  treatise  on  dreams  has  been  printed  among  the 
works  of  Arnald  of  Villanova,^"  a  physician  who  interpreted 
dreams  for  the  kings  of  Aragon  and  Sicily  at  the  end  of 
the  thirteenth  century,  under  the  title  Expositio   (or,  Ex- 

*  St.  John's  172,  fol.  14OV. 
'BN   7486,   fols.   3v-4r. 
'Ibid.,  fols.  4v-6v. 
*Ihid.,  fols.   ior-i6r. 
"  Ibid.,  fol.  6r. 
"Ibid.,  fol.  7v. 

Ubid.,  fol.  gr. 

*Ibid.,  fol.  9v. 

•  Harleian  i,  13- 14th  century, 
fol.  76V-. 

"  See  below  for  a  chapter  con- 
cerning him. 

Who  was 
Aragon  ? 

His  work 
to  Arnald 
of  Villa- 



work  on 

positiones)  visionum  quae  Hunt  in  somniis}  The  Histoire 
Litteraire  de  la  France  "  has  noted  that  in  the  manuscript 
copies  the  work  was  anonymous  and  not  ascribed  to 
Arnald,  but  I  believe  that  I  am  the  first  to  identify  it  with 
the  work  of  WilHam  of  Aragon. 

In  the  same  manuscript  with  the  Sompniale  dilncidarium 
Pharaonis  and  the  work  of  William  of  Aragon  on  dreams 
just  described  is  another  long  anonymous  work  on  the  inter- 
pretation of  dreams.^  It  makes  the  usual  points  that  the 
meaning  of  dreams  varies  with  times  and  persons.  But  the 
treatise  consists  chiefly  ^  of  a  mass  of  significations  which 
are  not  even  arranged  in  alphabetical  order,  a  failing  which 
it  is  attempted  to  remedy  by  an  alphabetical  index  at  the 
close. ^ 

*In  the  edition  of  Lyons,  1532, 
at  fols.  290-2. 

'  HL  28,  76-7- 

'St.  John's  172,  fols.  i53-209r, 
"Summus  opifex  deus  qui  post- 
quam  homines  ad  ymaginem  suam 
plasmaverit  animam  rationalem 
cidem    coniunxerit    ratione    cuius 

malum  a  bono  discernit  suum 
creatorem  laudando  unde  anima 
futura  in  sompniis  comprehendit 
sive  bonum  sive  malum  in  pos- 
terum    futurum.  .  .  ." 

*  Ibid.,    fols.    153V-208V. 

°Ibid.,  fols.  209v-2i2r. 


Chapter  51 

"  52 
"  53 
"  54 
"  55 
"  56 
"       57 

"       59 


Michael  Scot. 

William  of  Auvergne. 

Thomas  of  Cantimpre. 

Bartholomew  of  England. 

Robert  Grosseteste. 

Vincent  of  Beauvais. 

Early  Thirteenth  Century  Medicine :  Gilbert 

of  England  and  William  of  England. 
Petrus  Hispanus. 
Albertus  Magnus. 
I.     Life. 

n.     As  a  scientist, 
in.     His  allusions  to  magic. 
IV.     Marvelous  virtues  in  nature. 

V.     Attitude  toward  astrology. 
Thomas  Aquinas. 
Roger  Bacon. 



of    and    part    in    medieval 


III.  His  experimental  science. 

IV.  Attitude  toward  magic  and  astrology. 
V.     Conclusion. 

62.  The  Speculum  Astronomiae. 

63.  Three  Treatises  Ascribed  to  xA.lbert. 

64.  Experiments  and  Secrets  of  Galen,  Rasis,  and 

Others:     I.     Medical  and  Biological. 


Chapter  65. 




Experiments  and  Secrets  of  Galen,  Rasis,  and 

Others:     II.     Chemical  and  Magical. 

Guido  Bonatti  and  Bartholomew  of  Parma. 
Arnald  of   Villanova. 
Raymond  Lull. 
Peter  of  Abano, 
Cecco  d'Ascoli. 



In  our  preceding  book  on  the  twelfth  century  we  included 
some  writers,  like  Alexander  Neckam,  who  lived  on  a  few 
years  into  the  following  century  but  whose  works  were 
probably  written  in  the  twelfth.  We  now,  with  Michael 
Scot,  begin  to  treat  of  authors  whose  period  of  literary  pro- 
ductivity dates  after  1200.  We  shall  endeavor  to  consider 
the  various  authors  and  works  in  something  like  chronolog- 
ical order,  but  this  is  often  difficult  to  determine  and  in  one 
or  two  cases  we  shall  purposely  disregard  strict  chronology 
in  order  to  bring  works  of  the  same  sort  together.  Our 
last  four  chapters  on  Arnald  of  Villanova,  Raymond  Lull, 
Peter  of  Abano,  and  Cecco  d'Ascoli  carry  us  over  the 
threshold  of  the  fourteenth  century,  the  death  of  the  last- 
named  not  occurring  until  1327. 

Greater  voluminousness  and  thoroughness  mark  the 
work  of  these  writers  as  compared  with  those  of  the  twelfth 
century.  The  work  of  translation  has  been  partly  accom- 
plished; that  of  compilation,  reconciliation,  criticism,  and 
further  personal  investigation  and  experimentation  proceeds 
more  rapidly  and  extensively.  The  new  Friar  Orders  in- 
vade the  world  of  learning  as  of  everything  else:  of  the 
writers  whose  names  head  the  following  chapters  Bartholo- 
mew of  England  and  Roger  Bacon  were  Franciscans ;  ^ 
Thomas  of  Cantimpre,  Vincent  of  Beauvais,  Albertus  Mag- 
nus, and  Thomas  Aquinas  were  Dominicans.  In  these  rep- 
resentatives of  the  new  religious  Orders,  however,  theology 

*  Little  that  is  new  on  the  theme      Studien      tin      Fransiskanerorden 
of  the  Franciscans  and  learning  is      bis  urn  die  Mitte  dcs  13  Jahrhun- 
contributed    by    H.     Felder,     Ge-      derts,  Freiburg,  1904 
schirhte      dcr     wissensrliaftlichen 



cannot  be  said  to  absorb  attention  at  the  expense  of  natural 
science.  The  prohibitions  of  the  study  of  the  works  of  Aris- 
totle in  the  field  of  natural  philosophy  by  the  University  of 
Paris  early  in  the  century  preceded  the  friars  and  were  not 
lasting,  and  the  mid-century  struggle  of  the  friars  with  the 
other  teachers  at  Paris  ^  was  one  over  privilege  and  organi- 
zation rather  than  tenets.  Teachers  and  writers  were,  how- 
ever, sometimes  condemned  for  their  intellectual  views  at 
Paris  and  elsewhere  in  the  thirteenth  century,  and  whether 
the  study  of  natural  science  and  astrology  was  persecuted 
is  a  question  which  will  arise  more  than  once.  In  any  case 
the  friars  seem  to  have  declined  in  scientific  prowess  as  in 
other  respects  toward  the  close  of  the  century.  Petrus  His- 
panus,  who  became  Pope  John  XXI  in  1276- 1277,  had  not 
been  a  friar  himself,  and  is  said  to  have  been  more  favor- 
able to  men  of  learning  than  to  the  regular  clergy.  Finally, 
in  Guido  Bonatti,  Arnald  of  Villanova,  Peter  of  Abano,  and 
Cecco  d'Ascoli  we  come  to  laymen,  physicians  and  astrolo- 
gers, who  were  to  some  extent  either  anti-clerical  themselve: 
or  the  object  of  clerical  attack. 

This  was  the  century  in  which  Roger  Bacon  launched 
his  famous  eulogy  of  experimental  science.  A  good-sized 
fleet  of  passages  recognizing  its  importance  will  be  found, 
however,  in  our  other  authors,  and  we  shall  need  to  devote 
two  chapters  to  experimental  books  which  were  either 
anonymous  or  pretended  to  date  back  to  ancient  or  Arabic 
authors.  And  not  without  some  justification,  since  we  have 
been  tracing  the  history  of  experimental  science  through 
our  previous  books. 

*  Concerning    it    consult    F.    X.  the   Middle   Ages,    I,    v,   2,    "The 

Seppelt,  Dcr  Kampf  der  Bettclor-  Mendicants   and  the    University" ; 

den   an   die    Univcrsitdt   Paris   in  or    P.    Feret,    La   faculte   de   thc- 

dcr    Mitte    des    13    Jahrhunderts,  ologie  de  Paris:  moyen  age,  Paris, 

Breslau,     1905,    in    Kirchengcsch.  1894-1897,     4     vols.;     and     other 

Abliandl.,    Ill;    or    H.    Rashdall,  works  listed  by  Paetow  (1917),?. 

The    Universities    of    Europe    in  441. 



Bibliographical  note — Michael  Scot  and  Frederick  II — Some  dates 
in  Michael's  career — Michael  Scot  and  the  papacy — Prominent  position 
in  the  world  of  learning — Relation  to  the  introduction  of  the  new  Aris- 
totle— Thirteenth  century  criticism  of  Michael  Scot — General  estimate 
of  his  learning — God  and  the  stars — A  theological  digression — The 
three  Magi — Astrology  distinguished  from  magic — The  magic  arts — 
Experiments  of  magic — History  of  astronomy — The  spirits  in  the  sky, 
air,  and  earth — Occult  medicine — The  seven  regions  of  the  air — 
Michael's  miscellaneous  content — Further  astrological  doctrine — Omis- 
sion of  nativities — Magic  for  every  hour — Quaint  religious  science — 
The  Phisionomia — Influence  of  the  stars  on  human  generation — Dis- 
cussion of  divination — Divination  from  dreams — Works  of  divination 
ascribed  to  Michael  Scot — Medical  writings — Occult  virtues — Astrology 
n  the  Commentary  on  the  Sphere — Dionysius  the  Areopagite  and  the 
solar  eclipse  during  Christ's  passion — Alchemy — Works  of  alchemy 
ascribed  to  Michael  Scot — Brother  Elias  and  alchemy — Liber  luminis 
luminum  and  De  alchemia — Their  further  characteristics. 

But  little  can  be  said  with  certainty  concerning  the  life  of   Michael 
Michael  Scot.^     However,  a  poem  by  Henry  of  Avranches,    Freder- 
ick II. 

^  James  Wood  Brown,  An  in-  Bodleian  266,  15th  century,  218 
qiiiry  into  the  life  and  legend  of  fols.  "Quicumque  vult  esse 
Michael  Scot,  Edinburgh,  1897.  bonus  astrologus  .../... 
While  this  book  has  been  sharply  finitur  tractatus  de  notitia  pro- 
criticized  (for  instance,  by  H.  nosticorum."  This  is  the  MS 
Niese  in  HZ,  CVIII  (1912),  p.  which  I  have  used. 
497)  and  has  its  failings,  such  as  CLM  10268,  14th  century,  146 
an  unsatisfactory  method  of  pre-  fols.  Described  by  F.  Boll 
senting  its  citations  and  author-  (1903),  p.  439.  I  tried  to  in- 
ities,  it  gives,  obscured  by  much  spect  this  MS  when  I  was  in 
verbiage  intended  to  make  the  Munich  in  1912  but  it  had  been 
book  interesting  and  popular  and  loaned  out  of  the  library  at 
much    fanciful    speculation    as    to  that    time. 

what  may  have  been,  a  mort  reli-  Brown      further      mentions      BN 

able  account  of  Michael's  life  and  nouv.  acq.  1401  and  an  Escorial 

a  fuller  bibliography  of  his  writ-  MS  of  the   14th  century  which 

ings  than  had  existed  previously.  I   presume  is   the   same  as   Es- 

But  it  must  be  used  with  caution.  corial      F-III-8,      14th     century, 

fols.   T-126,   "Incipit  prohemium 

Liber  introductorius:   extant  only  libri    introductorii    quern    edidit 

in    MSS,    of    which    some   are:  Michael  Scotus,"  etc. 




The  following  are  perhaps  ex- 
tracts from  the  Liber  Introduc- 

BN  14070,  I3th-i4th-i5th  century, 
fol.  112-,  Mich.  Scoti  de  notitia 
conjunctionis  mundi  terrestris 
cum  celesti ;  fol.  115-,  Eiusdem 
de  presagiis  stellarum. 

Vienna  3124,  15th  century,  fols. 
206-11,  "Capitulum  de  hiis  quae 
generaliter  significantur  in  par- 
tibus  duodecim  celi  sive  domi- 

Vatican  4087,  fol.  38r,  "Explicit 
liber  quem  edidit  micael  scotus 
de  signis  et  ymaginibus  celi." 

See  also  MSS  mentioned  by 
Brown  at  p.  27,  note  2. 

Liber  particularis,  or  Astro- 
nomia;  also  extant  only  in 

Canon.  Misc.  S5S,  early  14th  cen- 
tury, fols.  1-59.  "Cum  ars  as- 
tronomic sit  grandis  sermonibus 
philosophorum.  .  .  .  This  is  the 
MS  I  have  used;  others  are: 

Escorial  E-III-iS,  14th  century, 
fols.  41-51,  Michaelis  Scoti  ars 
astronomiae  ad  Federicum  im- 
peratorem    II. 

CLM  10663,  i8th  century,  261 
fols.,  Michael  Scot,  Astro- 

At  Milan,  Ambros.  L.  92. 

Phisionomia:  eighteen  editions 
are  said  to  have  appeared  be- 
tween 1477  and  1660.  I  have 
used  the  following  text : 

Michael  Scot,  De  sccrctis  naturae, 
Amsterdam,  1740,  where  it  fol- 
lows at  pp.  204-328  the  De  se- 
cretis  muliertim  and  other  treat- 
ises ascribed  to  Albertus  Mag- 

It  occurs  at  fols.  59-88  of  Canon. 
Misc.  555,  immediately  after 
the  Liber  particularis,  and  is 
found  in  other  MSS. 

Commentary  on  The  Sphere  of 

Eximii  atqiie  excellentissimi  phy- 
sicorum  motuum  cursusque  side- 
rei  indagatoris  Michaelis  Scoti 
super  auctorcm  sperae  cum 
qucstionibus  diligenter  emenda- 
tis  incipit  expositio  confecta  II- 

lustrissimi  Imperatoris  Dili  D. 
Fedrici  precibus,  Bologna,  1495. 
I  have  also  used  an  edition  of 
1518,  and  there  are  others. 

Liber  lumen   luminum. 

Riccardian  119,  fols.  35v-37r, 
"Incipit  liber  luminis  luminum 
translatus  a  magistro  michahele 
scoto   philosopho." 

Printed  by  Brown  (1897),  Ap- 
pendix  III,   pp.   240-68. 

I  presume  it  is  the  same  as  the 
Lumen  luminiim  ascribed  to 
Rasis  in  BN  6517  and  7156 — see 
Berthelot  (1893),  I,  68— but  I 
have  not   compared   them. 

In  the  same  Riccard.  119  at  fol. 
i66r  is  a  Liber  lumen  luminum 
ascribed  to  Brother  Elias,  gen- 
eral of  the  Franciscans.  "In- 
cipit liber  alchimicalis  quem 
frater  helya  edidit  apud  frede- 
ricum  Imperatorem.  Liber  lu- 
men luminum  translatus  de  sar- 
raceno  ac  arabico  in  latinum  a 
fratre  cypriano  ac  compositus 
in  latinum  a  generali  fratrum 
minorum  super  alchimicis.  In- 
cipit liber  qui  lumen  luminum 
dicitur  ex  libris  medicorum  et 
experimentis  et  philosophorum 
et  disciplinarum  ex(t)ranea- 

De  alchimia  (or,  alchemia) 
Corpus  Christi  125,  fols.  97V-100V, 
Michaelis  Scoti  ad  Theophilum 
Saracenorum  regem  "de  alke- 
mia."  "Explicit  tractatus  ma- 
gistri   michaelis    Scoti   de   alke." 

The  above-mentioned  books 
and  manuscripts  are  those  espe- 
cially discussed  and  utilized  in 
the  present  chapter.  The  follow- 
ing may  be  noted,  since  they  are 
omitted  by  Brown,  although  they 
have  little  to  do  with  our  inves- 
tigation : 

Mensa  philosophica.  Of  this  brief 
work  ascribed  to  Michael  Scot 
several  incunabula  exist  in  the 
library  of  the  British   Museum. 

Amplon.  Folio  179,  14th  century, 
fols.  98-99,  "Liber  translative 
theologie  de  decern  kathego- 
riis."      The    attribution    of    this 


addressed  to  the  emperor  Frederick  II  in  1235  or  1236,^ 
shows  that  Michael  was  then  dead  and  that  he  apparently- 
had  occupied  the  position  of  astrologer  at  the  court  of  Fred- 
erick II  at  the  time  of  his  death.  The  poet  explains  how 
astrologers  (mathematici)  "reveal  the  secrets  of  things," 
by  their  art  affecting  numbers,  by  numbers  affecting  the 
procession  of  the  stars,  and  by  the  stars  moving  the  uni- 
verse. He  recalls  having  heard  "certain  predictions  con- 
cerning you,  O  Caesar,  from  Michael  Scot  who  was  a  scruti- 
nizer  of  the  stars,  an  augur,  a  soothsayer,  a  second  Apollo" ; 
and  then  tells  how  "the  truthful  diviner  Michael"  ceased  to 
publish  his  secrets  to  the  world,  and  "the  announcer  of  fates 
submitted  to  fate,"  apparently  in  the  midst  of  some  predic- 
tion made  on  his  death-bed.  Michael's  own  statements  also 
show  that  he  was  one  of  Frederick's  astrologers.^  If  at 
the  time  of  his  death  Michael  was  Frederick's  astrologer,  it 
is  more  questionable  at  what  date  his  association  with  Fred- 
erick began,  and  in  what  countries  Michael  resided  with  the 
emperor,  or  accompanied  him  to,  whether  Sicily,  southern 
Italy,  northern  Italy,  or  Germany.  From  the  fact  that  three 
of  Michael  Scot's  works,  or  rather,  the  three  chief  divisions 
of  his  longest  extant  work,^  namely,  Liber  Introductorius, 
Liber  Particularis,  and  Phisionomia,  were  written  at  the 
request  of  Frederick  II  for  beginners  ^  and  apparently  in 
the  time  of  Innocent  III,^  J.  Wood  Brown  jumped  to  the 
conclusion  that  Michael  was  Frederick's  tutor  before  that 
monarch  came  of  age,  and  that  he  spent  some  time  in  the 
island  of  Sicily,   from  which  Brown  failed  to  distinguish 

to  Michael  Scot  might  be  taken  scotum   sibi   fidelem   inter  ceteros 

to  support  the  tradition  that  he  astrologos  domestice  advocavit." 
was    a    doctor    of    theology    at  *  That  they  are  sections  of  one 

Paris.  work    is     made    clear    from    his 

'  The   poem   is   printed   in   For-  statement  at  the  end  of  the  long 

schungcn      zur      deutschen      Ge-  preface  to  all  three :  Bodleian  266, 

schichte,    XVIII     (1878),    p.    486.  fol.    25V;     Boll     (1903),    P-    439, 

Yet   Cantor   II    (1913),   p.   7,   has  quotes    the    same    passage    from 

Michael     outlive     Frederick     and  CLM   10268. 
transfer     his     residence     to     the  *  "Scolares  novitii." 

court  of  Edward  I  of  England.  "The  MSS   say  "Innocent   IV," 

'  Canon.     Misc.     555,     fol.    44V,  but  Michael  had  died  before  his 

"Quadam      vice      me      michaelem  pontificate. 



dates  in 

Frederick's  larger  kingdom  of  Sicily.^  As  a  matter  of  fact, 
there  would  seem  to  be  rather  more  evidence  for  connecting 
Michael  with  Salerno  than  with  any  Sicilian  city,  since  in 
one  manuscript  of  his  translation  for  the  emperor  of  the 
work  of  Avicenna  on  animals  he  is  spoken  of  as  "an  astrono- 
mer of  Salerno,"  "  while  in  another  manuscript  he  is  asso- 
ciated with  a  Philip,  clerk  of  the  king  of  Sicily,  and  this 
royal  notary  in  two  deeds  of  1200  is  called  Philip  of 
Salerno.^  Brown  was  inclined  to  identify  him  further  with 
Philip  of  Tripoli,  the  translator  of  the  pseudo-Aristotelian 
Secret  of  Secrets. 

No  date  in  Michael's  career  before  the  thirteenth  century 
is  fixed.  If  it  is  true  that  the  three  sections  of  his  main  work 
were  written  under  Innocent  III,  that  places  them  between 
1 198  and  1216.  The  date  of  his  translation  of  the  as- 
tronomical work  of  Alpetragius  or  Alpetrangi  (Niir  ed-din 
el-Betrugi,  Abu  Ishaq)  seems  to  have  been  in  the  year  12 17 
on  Friday,  August   18,  in  the  third  hour  and  at  Toledo.* 

*  Brown  (1897),  chapter  II. 
Criticized  by  H.  Niese  in  His- 
torische  Zcitschrift,  vol.  108 
(1912),  p.  497,  note  3; 

'  Bologna  University  Library 
693,  i6th  century,  "Michaelis 
Scoti  astronomi  Salernitani  liber 
de  animalibus.  Incipit  liber  pri- 
mus de  animalibus  Avicenne 
rubrica.  Frederice  domine  mundi 
Romanorum  Imperator,  suscipe 
devote  hunc  laborem  Michaelis 

^  Laurentian  P.  Ixxxix,  sup.  cod. 
38,  15th  century,  p.  409;  printed 
in  Brown  (1897),  PP-  231-4.  Con- 
cerning Philip  see  also  Brown, 
pp.  19,  36-7.  The  important  pas- 
sage in  the  MS  is,  "Explicit 
nicromantiae  experimentum  illus- 
trissimi  doctoris  Domini  Magistri 
Michaelis  Scoti,  qui  summus  inter 
alios  nominatur  Magister,  qui 
fuit  Scotus,  et  servus  praeclaris- 
simo  Domino  Philipo  Regis 
Ceciliae  coronato ;  quod  destina- 
vit  sibi  dum  esset  aegrotus  in 
civitate  Cordubae,  etc.  Finis." 
Brown,  p.   iQ,  translates  the  l?st 

clause,  "which  experiment  he 
(i.  e.,  Michael)  contrived  when 
he  lay  sick  in  the  city  of  Cor- 
dova," and  so  concludes  that  Scot 
visited  that  city ;  but  I  should 
translate  it,  "which  he  (Michael) 
sent  to  him  (Philip)  while  he 
(Philip)  lay  sick  in  the  city  of 
Cordova."  Otherwise  why  is 
Philip  mentioned  at  all? 

*  Brown,  p.  104,  citing  Jourdain, 
Recherchcs,  p.  133,  who  called  at- 
tention to  two  Paris  MSS, 
Anciens  fonds  7399  and  Fonds  de 
Sorbonne  1820,  in  one  of  which 
the  MS  is  dated  1217,  while  the 
other  gives  the  year  as  1255  which 
is  the  exactly  corresponding  year 
of  the  Spanish  era.  Arsenal  1035. 
14th  century,  fol.  112,  a  MS  not 
noted  by  Jourdain  or  Brown, 
states  the  year  as  1207  A.  D.,  but 
this  is  evidently  a  mistake  for 
1217,  since  it  gives  the  same  day 
of  the  week  and  month  as  the 
other  MSS  and  August  i8th  fell 
on  Friday  in  1217,  but  not  in 
1207.  BN  16654,  13th  century, 
fol.  2>iy  gives  the  date  as  1217. 


Brown  holds  that  Michael  translated  Avicenna  on  animals 
in  12 10  for  Frederick  II  and  that  the  emperor  kept  it  to 
himself  until  1232,  when  he  allowed  Henry  of  Cologne  to 
copy  it.^  But  the  date  12 10  perhaps  applies  only  to  a  glos- 
sary of  Arabic  terms  which  accompanies  the  work  and 
which  is  ascribed  to  a  "Master  Al."  -  In  a  thirteenth  cen- 
tury manuscript  at  Cambridge  Michael  Scot's  translation  of 
Aristotle's  History  of  Animals  is  accompanied  by  a  note 
which  begins,  "And  I  Michael  Scot  who  translated  this  book 
into  Latin  swear  that  in  the  year  1221  on  Wednesday,  Oc- 
tober twenty-first,"  ^  The  note  and  date,  however,  do  not 
refer  to  the  completion  of  the  translation  but  to  a  consulta- 
tion in  which  a  woman  showed  him  two  stones  like  eggs 
which  came  from  another  woman's  womb  and  of  which  he 
gives  a  painstakingly  detailed  description.  There  is,  how- 
ever, something  wrong  with  the  date,  since  in  1221  the 
twenty-first  of  October  fell  on  Thursday.* 

The  career  of  Michael  Scot  affords  an  especially  good   Michael 
illustration  of  how  little  likelihood  there  was  of  anyone's   and  the 
being  persecuted  by  the  medieval  church  for  belief  in  or  papacy, 
practice  of  astrology.     Michael,  although  subordinating  the 
stars  to  God  and  admitting  human  free  will,  as  we  shall 
see,  both  believed  in  the  possibility  of  astrological  predic- 
tion and  made  such  predictions  himself.     Yet  he  was   a 
clergyman,  perhaps  even  a  doctor  of  theology,^  as  well  as  a 
court  astrologer,  and  furthermore  was  a  clergyman  of  suffi- 
cient rank  and  prominence  to  enable  Pope  Honorius  III  to 
procure  in  1224  his  election  to  the  archbishopric  of  Cashel 
in  Ireland.^    At  the  same  time  the  papal  curia  issued  a  dis- 

^  P.  55,  arguing  from  a  Vatican  *  Perhaps    the    year    is    correct, 

MS    which    is    described    at    pp.  but  "xii  kal."  should  be  "xiii  leal." 

235-7-  °HL  XX,  47;  Brown  (1897),  P- 

*  "Glosa    magistri    al.      Explicit  14 ;   both  citing  Du  Boulay,  Hist. 

anno   domini   mccx."  univ.   Paris.,    1656-1675. 

'  Gonville    and    Caius    109,    fols.  *  See  Denifle  et  Chatelain,  Char- 

I02v-I03r,    written    in    a    different  tulariiim  Univcrsitatis  Parisiensis, 

hand  from  the  text  of  the  History  1889,     I,     104,     for     a     letter     of 

of  Anifnals,  "Et  iuro  ego  michael  Honorius  III  of  January  16,  1224, 

scotus  qui  dedi  hunc  librum  latini-  asking     Stephen     Langton,     arch- 

tati   quod   in  anno   MCCXXI,   xii  bishop  of  Canterbury,  to  secure  a 

kal.   novembr.   die   mercurii.  .  ,  ."  benefice   for  Michael    Scot  whom 



position  in 
the  world 
of  learn- 

to  the  in- 
of  the  new 

pensation  permitting  Michael  to  hold  a  plurality,  so  that  he 
evidently  already  occupied  some  desirable  benefice.  Michael 
declined  the  archbishopric  of  Cashel,  on  the  ground  that 
he  was  ignorant  of  the  native  language  but  perhaps  because 
he  preferred  a  position  in  England;  for  we  find  the  papicy 
renewing  its  efforts  in  his  behalf,  and  Gregory  IX  on  April 
28.  1227,  again  wrote  to  Stephen  Langton,  archbishop  of 
Canterbury,  urging  him  to  make  provision  for  "master 
Michael  Scot,"  whom  he  characterized  as  "well  instructed 
not  only  in  Latin  but  also  in  the  Hebrew  and  Arabic  lan- 
guages." ^ 

Whether  Michael  ever  secured  the  additional  foreign 
benefice  or  not,  he  seems  to  have  remained  in  Italy  with 
Frederick  until  the  end  of  his  days.  He  also  seems  to  have 
continued  prominent  among  men  of  learning,  since  in  1228 
Leonardo  of  Pisa  dedicated  to  him  the  revised  and  enlarged 
version  of  his  Liber  abaci,^  important  in  connection  with 
the  introduction  of  the  Hindu-Arabic  numerals  into  western 

Roger  Bacon  in  the  Opus  Mains  ^  in  a  passage  often 
cited  by  historians  of  medieval  thought  ascribes  the  intro- 
duction of  the  new  Aristotle  into  western  Latin  Christendom 
to  Michael  Scot  who,  he  says,  appeared  in  1230  A.  D.  with 
portions  of  the  works  of  Aristotle  in  natural  philosophy  and 
metaphysics.  Before  his  time  there  were  only  the  works 
on  logic  and  a  few  others  translated  by  Boethius  from  the 
Greek;  since  1230  the  philosophy  of  Aristotle  "has  been 
magnified  among  the  Latins."  Although  many  writers  have 
quoted  this  statement  as  authoritative  in  one  way  or  another, 
it  must  now  be  regarded  as  valuable  only  as  one  more  illus- 
tration of  the  loose  and  misleading-  character  of  most  of 

he  calls  "singularly  gifted  in 
science  among  men  of  learning" : 
and  Theiner,  Vetera  Monumenta 
Hibernorum  et  Scotorum,  Rome, 
1864,  p.  23,  for  a  letter  of  Hon- 
orius  III  of  June  in  the  same  year, 
stating  that  MiLhael  has  declined 
the  archbishopric  of  Cashel  and 
appointing   another   man.     Brown 

has  incorrectly  dated  both  letters 
in  1223. 

'  Denifle  and  Chatelain,  I,  no. 

'For  the  date  and  MSS  see 
Boncompagni,  Intorno  ad  alcune 
opcrc  di  Leonardo  Pisano,  Rome, 
1854,    pp.    2   and    129-30. 

^Bridges  (1897)  I,  55;  in  Jebb's 
edition,  pp.  35-6. 


Roger's  allusions  to  past  learning  and  to  the  work  of  pre- 
vious translators.  We  know  that  the  books  of  Aristotle  on 
natural  philosophy  had  become  so  well  known  by  that  time 
that  in  1210  the  study  of  them  was  forbidden  at  the  uni- 
versity of  Paris,  and  that  about  that  same  year,  according 
to  Rigord's  chronicle  of  the  reign  of  Philip  II,  the  books 
of  Metaphysics  of  Aristotle  were  brought  from  Constanti- 
nople, translated  from  Greek  into  Latin,  and  began  to  be 
read  at  Paris. ^  But  Bacon's  date  is  more  than  twenty  years 
too  late,  and  we  have  already  mentioned  the  translation  of 
The  Secret  of  Secrets,  which  Bacon  regarded  as  genuine,  the 
acquaintance  of  Alexander  Neckam  with  works  of  Aris- 
totle, Alfred  of  England's  translation  of  the  De  vegetabili- 
btis  and  of  three  additional  chapters  to  the  Meteorology, 
the  still  earlier  translation  of  the  rest  of  that  work  by 
Aristippus  from  the  Greek  and  by  Gerard  of  Cremona  from 
the  Arabic,  and  Gerard's  numerous  other  translations  of 
works  of  Aristotle  in  natural  philosophy.  The  translations 
of  Gerard  and  Aristippus  take  us  back  to  the  middle  of  the 
twelfth  century  nearly  a  century  before  the  date  set  by 
Bacon  for  the  introduction  of  the  new  Aristotle.^  Michael 
Scot,  then,  did  not  introduce  the  works  of  Aristotle  on  nat- 
ural science  and  Bacon's  chronological  recollections  are 
obviously  too  faulty  for  us  to  accept  the  date  1230  as  of  any 
exact  significance  in  even  Michael's  own  career,  to  say  noth- 
ing of  the  history  of  the  translation  of  Aristotle. 

This  is  not  to  say  that  Michael  was  not  of  some  impor- 
tance in  that  process,  since  he  did  translate  works  of  Aris- 
totle and  his  Arabic  commentators,  especially  Avicenna  and 
Averroes.  Frederick  II  is  sometimes  said  to  have  ordered 
the  translation  from  Greek  and  Arabic  of  such  works  of 

^  Rigordus    de     Gestis    Philippi  '  P.    Duhem,    "Du   temps   ou    la 

//;  quoted   in  the  Leo  XIII  edi-  Scolastique  latine  a  connu  la  phy- 

tion  of  Aquinas,  Rome,   1882,  vol.  sique    d'Aristote,"     in    Revue    de 

I,  p.  cclix,  "legi   Parisiis  coepisse  philosophie,  August,  1909,  pp.  163- 

libellos    quosdam    aristotelis,    qui  78,   argues   that   the  Physics  was 

docebant    metaphysicum,   de   novo  known    to    Latins    in   the   twelfth 

Constantinopoli  delatos  et  a  graeco  century, 
in  latinum  translatos." 


Aristotle  and  other  philosophers  as  had  not  yet  been  trans- 
lated from  Greek  or  Arabic.^  But  the  letter  which  has  been 
ascribed  in  this  connection  to  Frederick  is  really  by  his  son 
and  successor,  Manfred,^  for  whom  many  translations  were 
made,  including  several  Aristotelian  treatises,  genuine  and 
spurious,  by  Bartholomew  of  Messina.  Already,  however, 
in  123 1  and  1232  a  Jew  at  Naples  had  translated  Averroes' 
abridgement  of  the  Almagest  and  his  commentary  on  the 
Organon,  in  the  latter  extolling  Frederick's  munificence 
and  love  of  science.^  Michael  Scot  has  been  shown  to  have 
translated  from  the  Arabic  the  History  of  Animals  and 
other  works  on  animals,  making  nineteen  books  in  all,  and 
also  Avicenna's  compendium  of  the  same,  the  De  caelo  et 
mundo,  the  De  anima  with  the  commentary  of  Averroes, 
and  perhaps  the  Metaphysics  or  part  of  it.^  His  translation 
of  the  De  caelo  et  mmido  was  accompanied  by  a  translation 
of  Alpetrangi's  commentary  on  the  same.^ 
Thirteenth  Scholars  of  the  succeeding  generation  sometimes  spoke 
"^10^8101  unfavorably  of  Michael's  work.  Although  Roger  Bacon 
of  Michael  recognized  his  translations  as  the  central  event  in  the  Latin 
reception  of  the  Aristotelian  philosophy,  and  spoke  of  him 
as  "a  notable  inquirer  into  matter,  motion,  and  the  course 
of  the  constellations,"  ^  he  listed  him  among  those  trans- 
lators who  "understood  neither  sciences  nor  languages,  not 
even  Latin,"  and  charged  more  than  once  that  a  Jew  named 
Andrew  was  really  responsible  for  the  translations  credited 
to  Michael.'^  Albertus  Magnus  asserted  that  Michael  Scot 
"in  reality  was  ignorant  concerning  nature  and  did  not  un- 

^  Petrus  de  Vineis  III,  ep.  Ixvii ;  companied    his    gift    to    the    Uni- 

Latin   cited   in   Dissertation  23  in  versity  of   Paris  of  copies  of  the 

vol.  I  of  the  Rome,   1882,  edition  translations   made   for  him.      See 

of  the  works  of  Aquinas.     Fred-  Chartularium    Universitatis    Pari- 

erick  II  is  not  even  mentioned  in  siensis,  I,  435-6. 

Grabmann's    dissertation    on    the  ^  Renan,     Averroes     ct     Aver- 

translation  of  Aristotle  in  the  thir-  ro'ismc,  p.   188. 

teenth  century.     In  the  preface  to  *  Grabmann     (1916),    pp.    143-4, 

his  De  arte  venandi   cum   avibus  175-6,  186-7,  198- 

Frederick  refuses  to  follow  Aris-  '^  BN    17155,    13th    century,    fol. 

totle  who,  he  says,  had  little  or  no  225-. 

practice     in     falconry:     Haskins,  'Brown,  145. 

EHR  XXXVI   (1921)  343-4.  'Brown,  119,  Brewer  (1859),  p. 

^The     letter     of     Manfred     ac-  91. 


derstand  the  books  of  Aristotle  well."  ^  Yet  he  used 
Michael's  translation  of  the  Historia  Animalium  as  the 
basis  of  his  own  work  on  the  subject,  often  following  it  word 
for  word.'  Michael  was,  however,  listed  or  cited  as  an 
authority  by  the  thirteenth  century  encyclopedists,  Thomas 
of  Cantimpre,  Bartholomew  of  England,  Vincent  of  Beau- 
vais,  and  at  the  close  of  that  century  is  frequently  cited  by 
the  physician  Amald  of  Villanova  in  his  Breviarium  prac- 

Michael  Scot  may  be  said  to  manifest  some  of  the  fail-  General 
ings  of  the  learning  of  his  time  in  a  rather  excessive  degree,  ^f  j^^s^*^ 
His  mind,  curious,  credulous,  and  uncritical,  seems  to  have  learning, 
collected  a  mass  of  undigested  information  and  superstition 
with  little  regard  to  consistency  or  system.  Occasionally 
he  includes  the  most  childish  and  naive  sort  of  material,  as 
we  shall  illustrate  later.  He  continues  the  Isidorean  type 
of  etymology,  deriving  the  name  of  the  month  of  May,  for 
example,  either  from  the  majesty  of  Jupiter,  or  from  the 
major  chiefs  of  Rome  who  in  that  month  were  wont  to 
dedicate  laws  to  Jupiter,  or  from  the  maioribus  in  the  sense 
of  elders  as  June  is  derived  from  Juniors.^  He  also  well 
illustrates  the  puerilities  and  crudities  of  scholastic  argu- 
mentation. Thus  one  of  the  arguments  which  he  lists 
against  regarding  a  sphere  as  a  solid  body  is  that  solids  can 
be  measured  by  a  straight  line  and  that  it  cannot.^  Asking 
whether  fire  is  hot  in  its  own  sphere,  he  says  that  it  might 
seem  not,  because  fire  in  its  own  sphere  is  light  and  light 
is  neither  hot  nor  cold.®  This  argument  he  rebuts  in  the 
end,  and  he  finally  decides  that  a  sphere  is  a  solid.  But 
he  would  have  seemed  wiser  to  the  modern  reader  to  have 
omitted  these  particular  contrary  arguments  entirely.  Such 
propositions  continue,  however,  to  be  set  up  and  knocked 

^Meteor.   Ill,    iv.    26    (Borgnet,      setischaften    u.    d.     Technik,    VI 

IV,  697).  (1913)  387-93. 

'  See  Jourdain,  Recherches,  etc.,  '  De  Renzi,  I,  292. 

and    more     recently     H.    Stadler,  *  Canon.  Misc.  555,  f  ol.  6. 

"Irrtiimer    des    Albertus    Magnus  'Sphere   (1518),  p.   106. 

bei  Benutzung  des  Aristoteles,"  in  '^  Ibid.,  p.   107. 
Archiv  f.  d.  Gesch.   d.   Xaturzins- 

the  stars. 


down  again  all  through  the  thirteenth  century,  and  such 
famous  men  as  Thomas  Aquinas  and  Peter  of  Abano  are 
guilty  of  much  the  same  sort  of  thing.  To  Michael  Scot's 
credit  may  be  mentioned  his  considerable  power  of  experi- 
mentation and  of  scientific  observation.  Perhaps  some  of 
the  "experiments"  attributed  to  him  are  spurious,  but  they 
show  the  reputation  which  he  had  for  experimental  method, 
and  on  the  whole  it  would  seem  to  be  justified.  The  note 
in  his  name  in  a  thirteenth  century  manuscript  at  Cam- 
bridge,^ giving  a  carefully  dated  and  detailed  account  of  two 
human  foetuses  which  had  solidified  into  stones  like  eggs, 
shows  a  keen  sense  of  the  value  of  thorough  observation 
and  a  precise  record  of  the  same.  Experimental  science 
would  seem  to  have  received  considerable  encouragement  at 
the  court  of  Frederick  II,  judging  from  the  stories  told  of 
that  emperor  and  the  pages  of  his  own  work  on  falconry.^ 
God  and  But  let  US  examine  Michael's  views  and  methods  more 

particularly.  In  opening  the  long  preface  to  his  voluminous 
Introduction  to  Astrology  he  states  that  hard  study  is 
requisite  to  become  a  good  astrologer,  but  he  finds  incentive 
to  such  effort  in  citations  from  Seneca,  Cato,  and  St.  Ber- 
nard that  it  is  virtuous  to  study  and  to  be  taught,  and  in 
the  reflection  that  one  who  knows  the  conditions  and 
habitudes  of  the  superior  bodies  can  easily  learn  those  of 
inferior  bodies.  The  signs  and  planets  are  not  first  movers 
or  first  causes,  and  do  not  of  themselves  confer  aught  of 
good  or  evil,  but  by  their  motion  do  indicate  "something  of 
truth  concerning  every  body  produced  in  this  corruptible 
world."  The  hour  of  conception  is  important  and  Michael 
explains  why  two  persons  born  at  the  same  moment  may  be 
unlike.  He  then  jumbles  together  from  Christian  and  astro- 
logical writers  such  assertions  as  that  the  stars  are  only 
signs,  not  causes,  and  that  their  influence  on  inferior  creation 
may  be  compared  to  the  action  of  the  magnet  upon  iron, 
or  that  we  see  on  earth  good  men  suffer  and  bad  men  pros- 

^  Gonville    and    Caius    109,    fol.      Venandi  cum  Avibus'  of  the  Em- 
I02v-i03r.  peror       Frederick       II,"       EHR 

»C.  H.  Haskins,  "The  'De  Arte      XXXVI    (1921)   334-55- 


per,  which  has  usually  been  regarded  as  a  better  argument 
for  a  fatalistic  or  mechanical  universe  than  for  divine  con- 
trol. He  agrees  that  the  universe  is  not  eternal  and  that 
everything  is  in  God's  powder,  but  insists  that  much  can  be 
learned  concerning  the  future  from  the  stars. ^ 

Michael  then  embarks  upon  a  long  theological  digres-  Atheo- 
sion  ^  in  the  course  of  which  he  quotes  much  Scripture  con-  g^ls'ston.' 
cerning  the  two  natures,  angelic  and  human.  After  telling 
us  of  the  nine  orders  of  angels  in  the  empyrean  heaven,  he 
deals  with  the  process  of  creation,  just  as  William  of 
Conches  and  Daniel  of  Morley  had  done  in  their  works  of 
astronomy  and  astrology.  In  the  first  three  days  Gpd 
created  spiritual  substances  such  as  the  empyrean  heaven, 
angels,  stars,  and  planets;  in  the  other  three  days,  visible 
bodies  such  as  mixtures  of  the  elements,  birds,  fish,  and 
man.  Michael  also  answers  various  questions  such  as  why 
man  was  created  last,  although  nobler  than  other  creatures, 
what  an  angel  is,  whether  angels  have  individual  names  like 
men,  and  much  concerning  the  tenth  part  who  fell.  Perhaps 
the  emperor  Frederick  is  supposed  to  put  these  queries  to 
Michael,  but  there  seemed  to  be  no  indication  to  that  effect 
in  the  manuscript  which  I  examined.  The  reply  to  the 
question  where  God  resides  is,  potentially  everywhere  but 
substantially  in  the  intellectual  or  empyrean  heaven.^ 
Michael  discusses  the  holy  Trinity  and  thinks  that  we  have 
a  similitude  of  it  in  the  rational  soul  in  the  three  faculties, 
intellect,  reason,  and  memory,*  although  he  attempts  no 
association  of  these  with  the  three  Persons  as  William  of 
Conches  imprudently  did  in  the  case  of  power,  wisdom,  and 
will.  He  indulges,  however,  in  daring  speculation  as  to 
where  the  members  of  different  professions  will  go  after  they 
die.  Philosophers,  "who  die  in  the  Lord,"  will  be  located 
in  the  order  of  Cherubim,  which  is  interpreted  as  plenitude 
of  science;  sincere  members  of  religious  orders  and  hermits 

^Bodleian  266,    fols.    ir-v.     Fu-  19. 

ture    citations,    unless    otherwise  *  fol.  4r. 

specified,  will  be  to  this  MS.  ■*  fol.    lOr. 

'  It  extends   from   fol.  2  to  fol. 


will  become  Seraphim;  while  pope,  emperor,  cardinals,  and 
prelates  will  enter  the  order  of  Thrones.^  Michael  also  con- 
tributes the  following  acrostic  of  eight  sins  whose  initials 
compose  the  word,  "Diabolus"  : 







Ventris  ingluvies 


The  three  In  the  course  of  the  foregoing  digression  Michael  in- 

^^^''  serted  an  account  of  the  Magi  and  the  star  that  appears  to 

be  based  in  part  but  with  variations  on  the  spurious  homily 
of  Chrysostom.  He  makes  them  three  in  number,  one 
from  Europe,  Asia,  and  Africa  respectively;  and  states  that 
forewarned  by  Balaam's  prophecy  they  met  together  an- 
nually for  worship  on  the  day  of  Christ's  nativity,  which 
they  appear  to  have  known  beforehand.  They  stood  in 
adoration  for  three  days  continuously  on  Mount  Victorialis 
until  on  the  third  day  they  saw  the  star  in  the  form  of  a 
most  beautiful  boy  with  a  crown  on  his  head.  Then  they 
followed  the  star  upon  dromedaries  which,  Michael  explains, 
can  go  farther  in  a  day  than  horses  can  in  two  months. 
Beside  the  star  three  suns  arose  that  day  at  equal  distances 
apart  and  then  united  in  token  of  the  Trinity;  and  Octa- 
vianus,  emperor  of  the  Romans,  saw  the  Virgin  holding  the 
Child  in  the  center  of  the  sun's  disk.  As  for  the  word 
magus,  Michael  explains  that  it  has  a  threefold  meaning, — 
which,  however,  has  nothing  to  do  with  the  Trinity, — 
namely :  trickster,  sorcerer,  and  wise  man,  and  that  the  Magi 
who  saw  the  star  were  all  three  of  these  until  their  subse- 
quent conversion  to  Christianity. 


Mols.  iiv-i2r.  'fol.  3r-v. 

*fol.  I7V. 


The  remainder  of  Michael's  lengthy  and  lumbering  Astrology 
preface  is  largely  occupied  with  the  utility  of  astrology,  guj^g^'j 
which  he  often  calls  "astronomy"  (astronomia),  and  dif-  from 
ferentiation  of  it  from  prohibited  arts  of  magic  and  divina- 
tion. While,  however,  he  distinguishes  these  other  occult 
arts  from  astrology,  he  affirms  that  nigromancers,  practi- 
tioners of  the  notory  art,  and  alchemists  owe  more  to  the 
stars  than  they  are  ready  to  admit.  ^  He  also  distinguishes 
a  superstitious  variety  of  astrology  (superstitiosa  as- 
tronof}iia) ,-  under  which  caption  he  seems  to  have  in  mind 
divination  from  the  letters  of  persons'  names  and  the  days 
of  the  moon,  and  other  methods  in  which  the  astronomer  or 
astrologer  acts  like  a  geomancer  or  sorcerer  or  tries  to  find 
out  more  than  God  wills.  Scot  also  distinguishes  between 
mathesis,  or  knowledge,  and  matesis,  or  divination,  and  be- 
tween mathematica,  which  may  be  taught  freely  and  pub- 
licly, and  matematica,  which  is  forbidden  to  Christians.' 

Michael  condemns  magic  and  necromancy  but  takes  evi-  The  magic 
dent  joy  in  telling  stories  of  magicians  and  necromancers  ^^*^- 
and  shows  much  familiarity  with  books  of  magic.  He  ex- 
plains "nigromancy"  as  black  art,  dealing  with  dark  things 
and  performed  more  by  night  than  day,  as  well  as  the  raising 
of  the  dead  to  give  responses,  in  which  the  nigromancer  is 
deceived  by  demons.*  He  repeats  Hugh  of  St.  Victor's 
definition  that  the  magic  art  is  not  received  in  philosophy, 
destroys  religion,  and  corrupts  morals.  As  he  has  said  be- 
fore, the  magus  is  a  trickster  and  evil-doer  as  well  as  wise 
in  the  secrets  of  nature  and  in  prediction  of  the  future.^ 
Michael  lists  twenty-eight  varieties  or  methods  of  divina- 
tion. He  believes  that  they  are  all  true:  augury  by  song 
of  birds,  interpretation  of  dreams,  observance  of  days,  or 
divination  by  holocausts  of  blood  and  corpses.  But  they 
are  forbidden  as  infamous  and  evil.     Later  on,  in  the  text 

*  fols.  2  and  20v.  which   speaks   of   a  magus  as   in- 
'  fols.  2iv-22r.  specting  entrails  of  animals  I  take 

*  fol.   22r.  it  that  the  word  is  a  slip  of  the 

*  fol  22V.  copyist  for  haruspex. 
"  In  another  passage  at  fol.  23r 



ments of 

itself,  he  returns  to  this  point,  saying  that  these  methods 
of  predicting  the  future  are  against  the  Christian  Faith,  but 
nevertheless  true,  like  the  marvels  of  Simon  Magus. ^ 
Michael  defines  and  describes  various  magic  arts  in  much  the 
same  manner  as  Isidore,  Hugh  of  St.  Victor,  and  John  of 
Salisbury ;  but  with  some  divergences.  Under  aerimancy  he 
includes  divination  from  thunder,  comets,  and  falling  stars, 
as  well  as  from  the  shapes  assumed  by  clouds.  Hydromancy 
he  calls  "a  short  art  of  experimenting"  as  well  as  divining. 
The  gazing  into  clear,  transparent,  or  liquid  surfaces  for 
purposes  of  divination  is  performed,  he  says,  with  some 
observance  of  astrological  hours,  secrecy,  and  purity  by  a 
child  of  five  or  seven  years  who  repeats  after  the  master  an 
incantation  or  invocation  of  spirits  over  human  blood  or 
bones.  He  speaks  of  a  maleficiis  as  one  who  interprets  char- 
acters, phylacteries,  incantations,  dreams,  and  makes  liga- 
tures of  herbs.  The  praestigiostis  deceives  men  through 
diabolic  art  by  phantastic  illusions  of  transformation,  such 
as  changing  a  woman  into  a  dog  or  bear,  making  a  man 
appear  a  wolf  or  ass,  or  causing  a  human  head  or  limb  to 
resemble  that  of  some  animal.  Even  alchemy,  or  perhaps 
only  the  superstitious  practice  of  it,  Michael  seems  to  classify 
as  a  forbidden  magic  art,  saying,  "Alchemy  as  it  were  tran- 
scends the  heavens  in  that  it  strives  by  the  virtue  of  spirits 
to  transmute  common  metals  into  gold  and  silver  and  from 
them  to  make  a  water  of  much  diversity,"  that  is,  an  elixir. 
Lot-casting,  on  the  other  hand,  both  the  authority  of  Augus- 
tine and  many  passages  in  the  Bible  pronounce  licit. 

Michael  more  than  once  ascribes  an  experimental  char- 
acter to  magic  arts.  Besides  calling  hydromancy  "a  short 
art  of  experimenting,"  he  states  that,  since  demons  are 
naturally  fond  of  blood  and  especially  human  blood,  nigro- 
mancers  or  magicians,  when  they  wish  to  perform  experi- 
ments, often  mix  water  with  real  blood  or  use  wine  which 
has  been  exorcized  in  order  to  make  it  appear  bloody.  "And 
they  make  some  sacrifice  with  the  flesh  of  a  living  human 

Mol.  i75r. 

n  MICiiAEL  SCOT  321 

being,  for  instance,  a  bit  of  their  own  flesh,  or  of  a  corpse, 
and  not  the  flesh  of  brutes,  knowing  that  consecration  of  a 
spirit  in  a  bottle  or  ring  cannot  be  achieved  except  by  the 
performance  of  many  sacrifices."  ^  Despite  his  censure  of 
the  art  in  the  preface  under  discussion,  we  find  a  necromantic 
experiment  of  an  elaborate  character  ascribed  to  Michael 
Scot  in  a  fifteenth  century  manuscript  ^  which  purports  to 
copy  it  "from  a  very  ancient  book,"  ^  a  phrase  which  scarcely 
increases  our  confidence  in  the  genuineness  of  the  ascription. 
The  object  of  the  experiment  is  to  secure  the  services  of  a 
demon  to  instruct  one  in  learning.  Times  and  astrological 
conditions  are  to  be  observed  as  well  as  various  other  pre- 
liminaries and  ceremonies;  a  white  dove  is  to  be  beheaded, 
its  blood  collected  in  a  glass  vessel,  a  magic  circle  drawn  with 
its  bleeding  heart;  and  various  prayers  to  God,  invocations 
of  spirits,  and  verses  of  the  Bible  are  to  be  repeated.  At 
one  juncture,  however,  one  is  warned  not  to  make  the  sign 
of  the  cross  or  one  will  be  in  great  peril. 

But  to  return  to  Michael's  magnum  opus.  The  preface  History 
closes  with  a  rather  long  and  very  confused  *  account  of  the  tronomy. 
history  of  astronomy  and  astrology.  While  Zoroaster  of 
the  lineage  of  Shem  was  the  inventor  of  magic,  the  arts  of 
divination  began  with  Cham,  the  son  of  Noah,  who  was 
both  of  most  subtle  genius  and  trained  in  the  schools  of 
the  demons.  He  tested  by  experience  what  they  taught  him 
and  having  proved  what  was  true,  indited  the  same  on  two 
columns  and  taught  it  to  his  son  Canaan  who  soon  out- 
stripped his  father  therein  and  wrote  thirty  volumes  on 
the  arts  of  divination  and  instructed  his  son  Nemroth  in 
the  same.  When  Canaan  was  slain  in  war  and  his  books 
were  burned,  Nemroth  revived  the  art  of  astronomy  from 
memory  and  was,  like  his  father,  deemed  a  god  by  many 
because  of  his  great  lore.     He  composed  a  work  on  the 

Mol.  22V.  *At   least    in   the    MS    which    I 

'Printed  by  Brown  (1897),  pp.      have  used;  Bodleian  266.  fols.  24r- 

231-4.  25  r. 
*  Ihid.,  p.  18. 


subject  for  his  son  lonicon,^  whose  son  Abraham  also  be- 
came an  adept  in  the  art  and  came  from  Africa  to  Jerusalem 
and  taught  Demetrius  and  Alexander  of  Alexandria,  who 
in  turn  instructed  Ptolemy,  king  of  Egypt,  who  invented 
astronomical  canons  and  tables  and  the  astrolabe  and  quad- 
rant. The  giant  Atlas  brought  the  art  to  Spain  before  Moses 
received  the  two  tables  containing  the  ten  commandments. 
If  this  chronology  surprises  us,  there  is  something  more 
amazing  to  follow.  At  this  point  in  the  manuscript  the 
copyist  has  either  omitted  a  great  deal  ^  or  Atlas  was  ex- 
tremely long-lived,  since  we  next  read  about  his  showing 
the  astrolabe  to  two  "clerks  of  France."  Gilbertus  (pre- 
sumably Gerbert)  borrowed  the  instrument  for  a  while, 
conjured  up  demons — for  he  was  the  best  nigromancer  in 
France,  made  them  explain  its  construction,  uses,  and  opera- 
tion to  him,  and  furthermore  all  the  rest  of  astronomy. 
Later  he  reformed  and  had  no  more  dealing  with  demons 
and  became  bishop  of  Ravenna  and  Pope.  Having  thus  got 
rather  ahead  of  time,  Michael  mentions  various  other  learned 
astronomers,  most  of  whom  really  lived  before  Gerbert, 
such  as  Thebit  ben  Corat,  Messahalla,  Dorotheus,  Hermes, 
Boethius,  Averroes,  John  of  Spain,  Isidore,  Zahel,  and 
The  spirits  Having  finally  terminated  his  preface,  Michael  begins 

a^r  and        ^^^  ^^^^  book  with  a  description  of  the  heavens  and  their 

earth.  "  What    purported    to    be    this  coverer  of  astronomy  and  teach- 

work    is    Hsted    in    the    Speculum  er   of    Nimrod    (Haskins,   op.   cit. 

astronomiae  of  Albertus  Magnus,  210-11). 

and    Haskins,    "Nimrod    the    As-  '  The   word   Explicit    is   written 

tronomer,"    Romanic    Review,   V.  across  the  knees  of  a  figure  of  the 

(1914),   203-12,   has   called    atten-  giant  Athalax  or  Caclon  who  sup- 

tion    to    the    following    MSS:     S.  ports  the  heavens  on  his  head  at 

Marco  VIII,  22;  Vatic.  Pal.  Lat.  fol.    25r,    col.    i,    but   the   passage 

1417;    and    an    extract    in    Ash-  concerning      "Gilbertus"      follows 

mole  191.     Haskins  notes  various  and    the    proper    Explicit    of    the 

mentions    of    Nimrod    as    an    as-  preface  does  not  occur  until  fol. 

tronomer  i:i  medieval  authors,  but  25V,    col.     i.      See    Haskins,    op. 

not      the      above      passage      from  cit.  p.  207  for  pictures  in  the  MSS 

Michael    Scot.       Although    Latin  of  Atlas  and  Nimrod  side  by  side, 

writers  make  loathon   or  lonaton  the  one  standing  on  the  Pyrenees 

(and  various  other  spellings)   the  and   supporting   the    starry   firma- 

disciple    of    Nimrod,     in     Syrian  ment;  the  other  on  the  mount  of 

writers  lonitus  is  the  fourth  son  the  Amorites  bearing  the  starless 

of    Noah    and    himself    the    dis-  heavens. 


motion.  Some  say  that  the  planets  are  moved  by  angels; 
others,  by  winds ;  but  he  holds  that  they  are  ruled  by  divine 
virtues,  spiritual  and  not  corporeal,  but  of  whom  little 
further  can  be  predicated,  since  they  are  imperfectly  known 
to  man  and  naturally  will  remain  so.^  Later  he  states  that 
they  do  not  move  or  rule  the  celestial  bodies  naturally  but 
as  a  service  of  obedience  to  their  Creator.^  He  has  already 
spoken  in  the  preface  of  spirits  in  the  northern  and  south- 
ern air,  and  asserted  that  very  wise  spirits  who  give  re- 
sponses when  conjured  dwell  in  certain  images  or  constella- 
tions among  the  signs  of  the  zodiac.^  In  the  Liher  particu- 
laris  he  speaks  of  similar  demons  in  the  moon.*  Now  he 
mentions  "a  legion  of  spirits  damned"  in  the  winds. ^  In 
later  passages  in  the  Liber  introdtictorius  he  gives  the  names 
of  the  ruling  spirits  of  the  planets,  Kathariel  for  Saturn,® 
and  so  on,  and  a  list  of  the  names  of  spirits  of  great  virtue 
who,  if  invoked  by  name,  will  respond  readily  and  perform 
in  marvelous  wise  all  that  may  be  demanded  of  them.^ 
And  as  the  planets  are  said  to  have  seven  rectors  who  are 
believed  to  be  the  wisest  spirits  in  the  sky,  so  the  seven 
metals  are  said  to  have  seven  rectors  who  are  believed  to 
be  angels  in  the  earth.^  Names  of  angels  also  occur  in 
some  of  his  astrological  diagrams.^  This  education  of  the 
reader  in  details  of  astrological  necromancy  shows  that 
Michael  is  not  to  be  depended  upon  to  observe  consistently 
the  condemnation  of  magic  and  distinction  between  as- 
trology and  necromancy  with  which  he  started  out  in  the 

By  affirming  that  the  physician  must  know  the  state  of   Occult 
the  moon  and  of  the  wind  and  that  "there  are  many  pas- 
sions of  the  soul  under  the  sphere  of  the  moon,"  ^^  Michael 
introduces   us  to   the   subject   of    astrological   medicine,    a 
theme  to  which  he  returns  more  than  once  in  the  course 

^  f ol.   28r-v;    also   Canon.   Misc.  *  fols.   I50v-i58r. 

555,  fol.  22r.  '  fol.   172. 

=■  fol.  68v.  •  fol.   I45V. 

^  fol.   2 IV.  '  fol.   128V. 

*  Canon.  Misc.  555,  fol.  lyv.  "  fols.  3or,  31T. 
*fol.   29V. 



of  the  work.^  The  practice  of  flebotomy  is  illustrated  by  a 
figure  showing  the  influence  of  the  signs  of  the  zodiac  upon 
the  human  body.^  From  the  fact  that  there  are  fourteen 
joints  in  the  fingers  of  the  hand  or  toes  of  the  foot  Michael 
infers  that  man's  span  of  life  should  be  140  years,  a  maxi- 
mum which  sin  has  reduced  to  120.^  There  are  as  many 
medicines  as  there  are  diseases  and  these  consist  in  the 
virtues  of  words,  herbs,  and  stones,  as  illustrations  of  which 
Michael  adduces  the  sacrament  of  the  altar,  the  magnet  and 
iron  used  by  deep-sea  sailors,  and  plasters  and  powders  * 
In  some  cases,  however,  neither  medicine  nor  astrology 
seems  to  avail,  and,  despite  his  preliminary  condemnation 
of  the  magic  arts,  Michael  argues  that  when  the  doctor  can 
do  nothing  for  the  patient  he  should  advise  him  to  consult 
an  enchantress  or  diviner.^ 
The  seven  From  the  seven  planets  and  sphere  of  the  moon  Michael 

the'air^  turns  to  the  seven  regions  of  the  air,  which  are  respectively 
the  regions  of  dew,  snow,  hail,  rain,  honey,  laudanum,  and 
manna.^  This  is  the  earliest  occurrence  of  this  discussion 
w^hich  I  have  met,  and  I  do  not  know  from  what  source,  if 
any,  Michael  took  it.  It  is  essentially  repeated  by  Thomas 
of  Cantimpre  in  his  De  natura  rerum,  where  he  gives  no 
credit  to  Michael  Scot  but  cites  Aristotle's  Meteorology  in 
which,  however,  only  dew,  snow,  rain,  and  hail  are  dis- 
cussed. In  the  History  of  Animals  ''  Aristotle  further  states 
that  honey  is  distilled  from  the  air  by  the  action  of  the 
stars  and  that  the  bees  make  only  the  wax.  Michael  simi- 
larly describes  the  honey  as  falling  from  the  air  into  flowers 
and  herbs  and  being  collected  by  the  bees;  but  he  distin- 
guishes two  kinds  of  honey,  the  natural  variety  just  de- 
scribed  and   the   artificial   honey   which    results    from   the 

*  fol.  174T.  hostia     sacrata     super     altare,     in 

*  fol.  144V.  magnete    et    ferro    navigantes    in 
'  fol.  173V.  alto  mari,  et  in  emplastris,  pulveri- 

*  fol.  I73r,  "Nam  tot  sunt  medi-      bus,  et  consertis." 
cine  quot  sunt  infirmitates  et  hae  °  fol.  i7Sv. 
constant  in  tribus  videlicet  in  ver-          '  f  ols.  32v-35r. 

bis,    herbis,    et    lapidibus,    virtutes  '' Hist.  Animal.  V,  xix,  4. 

quorum    quotidie    videmus    ut    in 


bee's  process  of  digestion.  He  also  explains  that  sugar 
(and  molasses?)  is  not  a  liquor  which  will  evaporate  like 
honey  and  manna,  but  is  made  from  the  pith  of  canes.^ 
"Laudanum"  is  a  humor  of  the  air  in  the  Orient,  and 
manna  descends  mainly  in  India  with  the  dew,  being  found 
in  Europe  only  in  times  of  great  heat.  It  is  of  great  virtue, 
both  medicinal  and  in  satisfying  hunger,  as  in  the  case  of 
the  children  of  Israel  under  Moses. 

We  cannot  take  the  time  to  follow  Michael  in  all  his    Michael's 

mi  spf^l— 

long  ramblings  through  things  in  heaven  above  and  earth  laneous 
beneath :  suri,  tides,  springs,  seasons,  the  difference  between  content. 
Stella,  aster,  sidus,  signiim,  imago,  and  planeta,  the  music 
of  the  spheres,  the  octave  in  music,  eight  parts  of  speech  in 
grammar,  and  eight  beatitudes  in  theology,  zones  and 
paradise,  galaxy  and  horizon  and  zenith,  divisions  of  time, 
the  four  inferior  elements  and  the  creatures  contained  in 
them,  eclipses  of  sun  and  moon,  Adam  protoplasm  and 
minor  mimdus  as  the  letters  of  his  name  indicate,  the 
mutable  and  transitory  nature  of  this  world,  the  inferno  in 
the  earth,  and  purgatory. 

Sooner  or  later  Michael  comes  to  or  returns  to  astro-    Further 
logical   doctrine   and  technique,    lists   the   qualities   of   the   \lJ\^lx 
seven  planets  and  head  and  tail  of  the  dragon,^  explains  the    doctrine, 
names  and  some  of  the  effects  of  the  signs  of  the  zodiac,^ 
gives  weather  prognostications  from  sun  and  moon,*  states 
the  moon's  influence  in  such  matters  as   felling  trees  and 
slaughtering  pigs,^  and  expounds  by  text  and  figures  plane- 
tary   aspects,    exaltations,    and    conjunctions,^    friendships 
and  enmities.'''     The  planet  Mercury  signifies  in  regard  to 
the  rational  soul,  grammar,  arithmetic,  and  every  science.^ 
The  election  of  hours  is  considered  and  a  list  given  of  what 
to  do  and  not  to  do  in  the  hour  of  each  planet  and  that  of 

'  f  ol.    3Sr,    "de    zuccaro    et    zac-  '  fol.  7Sr  et  seq. ;  fols.  108-114. 

cara.      Saccarum    et    zathara    non  *  f  ols.  11 7-8. 

sunt    liquores   vaporabiles   ut    mel  '  fol.  89. 

et  manna  sed  sit  de  medula  can-  "  fol.  124  et  seq. ;  fols.  132-5. 

narum."  'fols.  145V-147V. 

'  fols.  44r  et  seq. ;  fols.  150-8.  *  fol.  45r. 


the  moon  in  each  sign.^  There  then  follows,  despite 
Michael's  animadversions  in  the  preface  against  interpreters 
of  dreams  and  those  observing  days,  an  "Exposition  of 
dreams  for  each  day  of  the  moon,"  ~  nativities  for  each  day 
of  the  week,  and  a  method  of  divination  from  the  day 
of  the  week  on  which  the  New  Year  falls. ^  A  discussion 
of  the  effect  of  the  moon  upon  conception  is  interrupted  by 
a  digression  on  eggs :  how  to  estimate  the  laying  power  of 
a  hen  by  the  color  and  size  of  its  crest,  the  effect  of  thunder 
upon  eggs,  how  from  eggs  to  make  a  water  of  great  value 
in  alchemy,  and  how  to  purify  bad  wine  with  the  white  of  an 
egg.^  Returning  again  to  the  moon,  we  are  told  that  in 
the  new  moon  intellects  are  livelier,  scholars  study  and  pro- 
fessors teach  better,  and  all  artisans  work  harder.  Michael 
Scot  used  to  say  to  the  emperor  Frederick  that  if  he  wished 
clear  counsel  from  a  wise  man,  he  should  consult  him  in  a 
waxing  moon  and  in  a  human  and  fiery  or  aerial  sign  of 
the  zodiac.^  Michael  had  spoken  earlier  of  the  planets  as 
judges  of  the  varied  questions  of  litigators,®  and  now,  al- 
though admitting  the  freedom  of  the  human  will,  he  pro- 
ceeds to  discuss  at  considerable  length  "^  the  art  of  interroga- 
tions by  which  the  astrologer  answers  questions  put  to  him. 
With  this  the  Bodleian  manuscript  of  the  Liber  introduc- 
torius  ends,  apparently  incomplete.^ 
Omission  In  the  marginal  gloss  accompanying  a  Latin  translation 

tiM^*'^'"  of  the  astrological  works  of  Abraham  Avenezra  in  a  manu- 
script of  the  fifteenth  century  ^  Michael  Scot  is  quoted  a 
good  deal  on  the  subject  of  nativities.  But  the  Liber  intro- 
ductorius,  or  at  least  as  much  of  it  as  appears  in  the 
Bodleian  manuscript,  contains  little  upon  this  side  of  as- 

*  fols.  162V-163.  second  ends  on  fol.   178,  but  it  is 

*fol.  164V.  difficult  to  state  whether  the  MS 

'  fol.   165.  contains  anything  beyond  the  first 

*fol.   \y6r-v.  portion   of   the  third  distinctio  of 

"fol.  177V.  this  first  book,  owing  to  the  ab- 

•fol.  28r.  sence  of   decisive  rubrics." 

Mols.  178-218.  F.   Boll    (1903)    states  that  the 

'  As  Madan's  description  of  the       fourth    distinctio    is   also   missing 

MS  says,  "The  first  book  contain*      in  CLM  10268. 

four   distinciiones,   of    which  the         *  BN  7438,  15th  century. 



trology,  except  the  brief  nativities  for  each  day  of  the 
week.  A  passage  quoted  by  Brown  ^  to  the  effect  that  the 
person  born  under  a  certain  sign  will  be  an  adept  in  experi- 
ments and  incantations,  in  coercing  spirits  and  working 
marvels,  and  will  be  an  alchemist  and  nigromancer,  appears 
in  the  manuscript  as  a  marginal  addition  rather  than  part 
of  the  text  and  so  is  presumably  not  by  Michael  Scot  him- 

In  connection  with  the  subject  of  elections  Michael  gives  Magic  for 
a  list  of  the  prayers,  conjurations,  and  images  appropriate  hoim 
for  each  of  the  twelve  hours  of  the  day  and  of  the  night.- 
For  instance,  in  the  first  hour  of  the  day  men  pray  to  God 
and  it  is  a  good  time  to  bind  all  tongues  by  images,  char- 
acters, and  conjurations.  In  the  second  hour  angels  pray 
to  God  and  images  and  other  devices  to  promote  love  and 
concord  should  be  constructed  then.  In  the  third  hour  birds 
and  fishes  pray  to  God  and  it  is  a  good  time  to  make  images 
and  other  contrivances  to  catch  birds  and  fish.  In  the  first 
hour  of  the  night  demons  hold  colloquy  with  their  lord  and 
the  time  is  favorable  for  the  invocation  of  spirits. 

A  more  Christian  and  less  magical  enumeration  of  the  Quaint 
hours  occurs  in  the  Liber  particularis.^  At  morning  Christ  scien'ce^* 
was  arrested  on  the  Mount  of  Olives.  In  the  first  hour 
Christ  was  presented  to  Ananias  and  Caiphas,  the  high 
priests;  in  the  third  hour,  to  Pontius  Pilate;  in  the  sixth 
hour  He  was  brought  back  to  Herod  and  taken  to  Mount 
Calvary;  in  the  ninth  He  was  given  vinegar  and  gave  up 
the  ghost  and  the  earth  quaked  and  the  veil  of  the  temple 
was  rent  in  twain ;  at  vespers  He  was  taken  down  from  the 
cross.  Another  specimen  of  this  quaint  religious  science 
is  found  in  the  Liber  introductorius,^  where  Michael,  writ- 
ing before  the  invention  of  the  telescope,  speaks  of  the 
limits  set  to  seeing  into  the  heavens  except  by  special  grace 
of  God,  as  in  the  case  of  Katherine  and  of  Stephen,  the  first 

^  In    a    footnote    at    page    185, 
from  Bodl.  266,  fol.  113. 
"fol.  i62r. 

'Canon.  Misc.  555,  fol.  4. 
*  Bodleian  266,  fol.  47r. 



The  Phi- 

of  the 
stars  on 

martyr,  who,  when  stoned,  saw  the  heavens  opened.  A  third 
example  occurs  in  the  third  part  of  the  opus  magnum,  or 
Phisionomia,  where  it  is  stated  that  at  birth  a  male  child 
cries  "Oa"  and  a  female  child  "Oe,"  as  if  to  say  respectively, 
"O  Adam  (or,  O  Eve)  why  have  you  sinned  that  I  on  your 
account  must  suffer  infinite  misery?"  ^  In  the  same  work 
Michael  gives  original  sin  as  one  of  two  reasons  why  a 
baby  cannot  talk  and  walk  as  soon  as  it  is  born.^ 

The  third  part  of  Scot's  main  work,  and  the  only  section 
which  has  been  printed,  is  that  primarily  devoted  to  the 
pseudo-science  of  physiognomy,  which  endeavors  to  deter- 
mine a  man's  character  from  signs  furnished  by  the  various 
parts  of  his  body.  The  Phisionomia^  is  addressed  to  the 
Emperor  Frederick  II  who  is  exhorted  to  the  pursuit  of 
learning  in  general  and  the  science  of  physiognomy  in  par- 
ticular. This  is  probably  a  conscious  or  unconscious  imita- 
tion of  the  remarks  addressed  to  Alexander  by  the  Pseudo- 
Aristotle  in  The  Secret  of  Secrets,  of  which  also  a  consider- 
able portion  is  devoted  to  physiognomy,  and  from  which 
Rasis  and  Michael  borrowed  a  good  deal.^  Indeed,  the 
Phisionomia  of  Michael  Scot  is  also  often  entitled  De 
secretis  naturae  and  really  only  a  certain  portion  of  it  is 
devoted  exclusively  to  physiognomy  proper.  Its  early  chap- 
ters and  first  part  deal  rather  with  the  process  of  generation 
and  it  is  only  with  the  twenty-third  chapter  and  second  part 
that  Michael  "reverts  to  the  doctrine  of  physiognomy." 
Perhaps  these  chapters  on  generation  had  more  to  do  with 
the  popularity  and  frequent  printing  of  the  work  than  did 
those  on  physiognomy. 

In  this  discussion  of  the  process  of  human  generation 
the  influence  of  the  stars  receives  ample  recognition. 
Michael  regards  the  moment  of  conception  as  of  great  as- 
trological importance;  then  according  to  the  course  of  the 
stars  and  the  disposition  of  the  bodies  conceiving  the  foetus 
(1740)    cap.    xi, 

p.  22,s. 
^  Ibid.,  cap.  ix,  p.  229. 
'  Or  Phisonomia  as   it  is   often 

spelled  in  the  medieval  texts  them- 
*  Brown   (1897),  32  and  37. 


receives  "similarly  and  simultaneously"  each  and  all  of  the 
determining  factors  in  its  subsequent  nature  and  history.^ 
This  we  may  perhaps  regard  as  a  medieval  approach  to  the 
theory  of  Mendel.  Michael  further  urges  every  woman  to 
note  the  exact  moment  of  sexual  intercourse,  when  this  is 
to  result  in  generation,  and  so  make  astrological  judgment 
easy.-  Yet  he  states  later  that  God  gives  a  new  and  free 
soul  with  the  new  body,  just  as  a  father  might  give  his  son 
a  new  tablet  on  which  to  write  whatever  he  wills  of  good  or 
evil.^  He  notes  the  correspondence  of  the  menstrual  fluid 
to  the  waxing  and  waning  of  the  moon  and  that  planet's 
influence  during  the  seventh  month  of  the  formation  of 
the  child  in  the  womb,*  and  gives  the  usual  account  of  the 
babe's  chances  of  life  or  death  according  as  it  is  born  within 
seven  months,  or  during  the  eighth,  or  ninth,  or  tenth 
month.  It  is  not  quite  clear  if  it  is  because  there  are  seven 
planets  that  Michael  affirms  that  a  woman  can  bear  as  many 
as  seven  children  at  once.^  He  adds  that  in  this  case  the 
child  conceived  in  the  middle  one  of  the  seven  cells  of  the 
matrix  will  be  a  hermaphrodite.® 

Scot's  treatise  on  Physiognomy  has  considerable  to  say  Discussion 
of  other  forms  of  divination  and  they  here  appear  in  a 
more  favorable  light  than  in  his  discussion  of  varieties  of 
the  magic  arts  in  the  preface  preceding  his  Liher  introduc- 
torius.  Among  signs  to  tell  whether  a  pregnant  woman 
will  give  birth  to  a  boy  or  a  girl  he  suggests  "a  chiromantic 
experiment"  "^  which  consists  simply  in  asking  her  to  hold 
out  her  hand.  H  she  extends  the  right,  the  child  will  be  a 
boy ;  if  the  left,  a  girl.  He  also  expounds  methods  of  augury 
at  some  length,  although  again  stating  that  they  are  in  the 
canons  of  the  church,  that  is  to  say  prohibited  by  canon 

^Edition    of    1740,    p.    210,    "Et  *  Cap.  8   (1740),  p.  228. 

secundum    cursum    corporum    su-  ''Cap.  3   (1740),  p.  218;  cap.  ID, 

periorum  sicut  dispositionem  cor-  p.  230. 

porum    concipientium    foetus    re-  "Cap.  2  (1740),  p.  213. 

cipit    similiter  et   semel    omnia   et  *  Cap.  7  (1740),  p.  227. 

sineula     quae     postea     discernunt  ^  Cap.    18    (1740),    p.    248,    "In 

ordinem  temporum  et  naturae."  chiromantia    est   illud    experimen- 

'  Cap.  7  (1740),  p.  226.  turn.  .  .  ." 







law.  The  divisions  of  space  employed  in  augury  are  twelve 
in  number  after  the  fashion  of  the  signs  of  the  zodiac.^ 
Michael  also  discusses  the  significance  of  sneezes.  If  any- 
one sneezes  twice  or  four  times  while  engaged  in  some 
business  and  immediately  rises  and  moves  about,  he  will 
prosper  in  his  undertaking.  If  one  sneezes  twice  in  the 
course  of  the  night  for  three  successive  nights,  it  is  a  sign 
of  death  or  some  catastrophe  in  the  house.  If  after  making 
a  contract  one  sneezes  once,  it  is  a  sign  that  the  agreement 
will  be  kept  inviolate;  but  if  one  sneezes  thrice,  the  pact  will 
not  be  observed.^ 

Dreams  and  their  interpretation  are  also  discussed  in 
the  Physionomia.^  The  age  of  the  dreamer,  the  phase  of 
the  moon,  and  the  stage  reached  in  the  process  of  digestion, 
all  have  their  bearing  upon  interpretation.  A  dream  which 
occurs  before  the  process  of  digestion  has  started  either 
has  no  significance  or  concerns  the  past.  The  dream  which 
comes  while  the  food  is  being  digested  has  to  do  with  the 
present.  Only  when  the  process  of  digestion  has  been  com- 
pleted do  dreams  occur  which  signify  concerning  the  future. 
In  order  to  recall  a  dream  in  the  morning  Michael  recom- 
mends sleeping  upon  one's  other  side  for  the  remainder  of 
the  night  or  rubbing  the  back  of  the  head  the  next  day. 
Some  dreams  signify  gain,  others  loss;  some  joy,  others 
sadness ;  some  sickness,  others  health,  others  war ;  some 
labor,  others  rest.  For  instance,  to  catch  a  bird  signifies 
gain,  to  lose  a  bird  in  one's  dream  signifies  loss;  to  mourn 
in  dreams  portends  joy,  to  laugh  indicates  grief.  The  rest 
of  his  discussion  of  dreams  Scot  limits  to  their  significance 
in  matters  of  health  and  physical  constitution.  He  takes  up 
dreams  indicative  of  predominance  of  blood,  red  cholera, 
phlegm,  and  melancholy  respectively;  of  heat,  cold,  dryness, 
and  humidity;  of  excess  of  humors  and  of  bad  humors. 

^  De  notitia  atiguriorum,  cap.  57       290. 
(1740),  p.  285. 
*Cap.   58    (1740),    pp.    288,    289,      3cq. 

Caps.  46-56   (1740),  p.   280,  et 




While  on  the  subject  of  divination  we  may  note  that 
a  geomancy  ^  and  a  chiromancy  -  have  been  ascribed  to 
Michael  Scot,  and  also  prophetic  verses  concerning  the  fate 
of  Italian  cities  in  the  style  of  the  Sibylline  verses  and 
prophecies  of  Merlin.  Brown  held  that  the  evidence  for 
the  authenticity  of  these  verses  was  as  convincing  as  that 
for  any  event  in  Scot's  life.^ 

It  would  not  be  surprising  to  find  that  Michael  himself 
practiced  medicine  as  well  as  astrology,  in  view  of  the  atten- 
tion given  to  human  physiology  and  the  process  of  genera- 
tion in  his  Physiognomy  and  elsewhere,  and  the  interest  in 
biology  which  his  translation  of  the  Aristotelian  works  on 
animals  evidences.  A  treatise  on  prognostication  from  the 
urine  is  ascribed  to  him  ■*  and  "Pills  of  Master  Michael 
Scot"  are  mentioned  in  at  least  one  manuscript,^  where 
they  are  declared  to  be  good  for  all  diseases  and  of  virtue 

Michael's  general  allusion  to  the  occult  virtue  of  words, 
herbs,  and  stones  in  the  Liber  introductorius  may  be  sup- 
plemented by  a  few  specific  examples  of  the  same  from  the 
other  two  divisions  of  his  main  work.  In  the  Liber  par- 
ticular is  he  mentions  such  virtues  of  stones  as  the  property 
of  the  agate  to  reveal  various  signs  of  demons  and  illusions 
of  enchantment,  and  the  power  of  the  jasper  to  render  its 
bearer  rich,  amiable,  and  eloquent.*'  In  the  Phidonomia 
he  suggests  that  persons  who  cannot  maintain  physical 
health  without  frequent  sexual  intercourse  may  be  able  to 
do  so  by  carrying  a  jasper  or  topaz, ''^     He  also  states  that 

*  CLM  489,   i6th  century. 

*  Chiromantica  Scientia,  quarto 
minori  sine  notis  typographicis, 
foliis  28  constat  itnpressis.  "Ex 
divina  philosophorum  academia 
secundum  nature  vires  ad  extra 
chyromantitio  diligentissime  col- 
lectum.  Exordium."  CI.  Denis, 
qui  alias  editioncs  huius  operis 
adfert,  Michaelum  Scotum  auc- 
torem   eiusdem   censeri   tradit. 

*  Brown  (1897),  163  et  seq. 

*  Vatican,  Regina  di  Svezia, 
1 159,     fol.     149,     "Finis    urinarum 

Works  of 
to  Michael 

Magistri  Michaelis  Scoti."  To  the 
two  MSS  Hsted  by  Brown,  p. 
153.  note  6,  containing  an  Italian 
translation,  may  be  added  Perugia 
316,  15th  century,  fols.  91-106, 
"Qui  chomenza  el  tractato  delle 
orine  secondo  come  mete  maistro 
Alichelle  sthato  strollogo  del  re 
Ferigo  ai  nostri  bexogni." 

^Addit.  24068,  13th  century,  fol. 

*  Canon.  Misc.  555,  fol.  sor-v. 

'  (1740),  p.  222. 





in  the 

bathing  in  the  blood  of  a  dog  or  of  two-year-old  infants 
mixed  with  hot  water  "undoubtedly  cures  leprosy,"  ^  and 
that  many  sorceries  can  be  wrought  by  use  of  the  menstrual 
fluid,  semen,  hairs  of  the  head,  blood,  and  footprints  in 
dust  or  mud.^ 

Michael  Scot's  Commentary  upon  the  Sphere  of  Sacro- 
bosco  ^  confines  itself  rather  more  strictly  to  astronomical 
^^hh  ''"  ^^^  ^^^  astrological  topics  than  did  the  Liber  introductorius, 
but  otherwise  their  contents  are  not  dissimilar.  In  the 
Commentary  Michael  discusses  such  questions  as  wdiether 
the  universe  is  eternal,  one  or  many,  and  what  form  or 
figure  it  should  have;  whether  the  mover  of  the  sky  is 
moved,  whether  the  stars  are  spherical  bodies,  and  whether 
the  zone  between  the  tropic  of  Capricorn  and  the  Antarctic 
Circle  is  temperate  and  inhabited.  Also  whether  the  ele- 
ments are  four  in  number,  and  whether  the  heavens  include 
a  ninth  sphere.  One  argument  against  its  existence  is  that 
there  are  no  stars  in  it,  on  which  account  some  hold  that 
it  would  exert  no  influence  upon  the  earth.  But  Michael 
replies  that  it  has  light  apart  from  any  starry  bodies  and 
by  virtue  of  this  light  does  exert  influence.  Other  astro- 
logical questions  which  he  raises  are  whether  the  signs  of 
the  zodiac  should  be  designated  by  the  names  of  animals, 
whether  the  first  heaven  is  a  more  potent  cause  of  genera- 
tion and  corruption  than  the  circle  of  the  zodiac  is,  whether 
celestial    bodies    have    particular    properties    as    terrestrial 

^  Phisionomia,    cap.    14    (1740), 

p.  241. 

'Ibid.,   cap.    10,   p.   233. 

'  If  the  ascription  of  this  Com- 
mentary to  Michael  is  correct, 
probably  either  he  wrote  it  to- 
ward the  end  of  his  life  or  Sacro- 
bosco  composed  the  Sphere  fairly 
early  in  his  career,  since  he  ap- 
pears to  have  outlived  Michael 
and  to  have  composed  his  Com- 
putus ecclcsiasticus  or  De  anni 
ratione  in  1244:  see  Duhem  III 
(i9i5)>  P-  240.  The  lines  quoted 
in  DNB  "John  Holywood  or  Hali- 
fax" as  on  his  tomb  in  the  cloister 
of  the  Mathurins   and  as   having 

reference  to  the  date  of  his  death 
are  really  the  verses  at  the  close 
of  his  Computus  ecclcsiasticus: 

"M   Christi   bis  C  quarto   deno 
quater  anno 

De  Sacro  Bosco   discrevit  tem- 
pera  ramus 

Gratia  cui  dcderat  nomen  divina 
Johannes!'  etc. 
Cantor  II  (1913),  p.  87,  however, 
speaks  of  two  different  tomb  in- 
scriptions given  by  Vossius  and 
Kastner  but  says  that  they  agree 
on  1256  as  the  date  of  Sacrobosco's 
death.  The  first  line  above  quoted 
is  sometimes  interpreted  as  giv- 
ing the  date  1256  rather  than  1244. 




bodies  do,  whether  the  heavens  are  animate,  whether  their 
motion  is  natural  or  voluntary,  whether  the  motion  of  the 
planets  is  rational,  and  whether  super-celestial  bodies  act 
upon  inferiors  by  virtue  of  their  motion.  In  mentioning  the 
departments  of  life  over  which  the  seven  planets  rule, 
Michael  cites  either  theologians  or  astrologers  ^  to  the  effect 
that  Saturn  signifies  concerning  pagans,  Jews,  and  all  other 
adversaries  of  the  Faith,  who  are  slow  to  believe  just  as 
Saturn  is  slow  of  movement  and  chilling  in  effect,  while 
Jupiter  is  the  sign  of  true  believers  and  Christians. 

In  commenting  upon  Sacrobosco's  concluding  passage 
concerning  the  miraculous  eclipse  at  the  time  of  Christ's 
passion  and  the  remark  attributed  to  Dionysius  the  Areopa- 
gite,  "Either  the  God  of  nature  suffers  or  the  machine  of 
the  universe  is  dissolved,"  Michael  explains  that  ancient 
Athens  was  divided  into  three  parts.  One  of  these  was  the 
shore  which  was  consecrated  to  Neptune,  but  in  place  of 
the  plain  and  the  mountains,  Michael  appears  to  take  a 
leaf  out  of  Plato's  Republic  and  mentions  the  region  of 
the  warriors,  dedicated  to  Pallas,  goddess  of  war,  and  the 
residential  quarter  of  the  philosophers,  named  the  Areopagus 
from  Ares  meaning  virtue  and  pagus  meaning  villa.  Ac- 
cording to  Michael  the  altar  to  the  unknown  god  was  erected 
by  Dionysius  the  Areopagite  at  the  time  of  the  darkness  and 
earthquake  accompanying  Christ's  passion,  and  when  Paul 
came  and  preached  the  Christ  whom  he  ignorantly  wor- 
shiped, Dionysius  was  converted,  and  became  a  missionary 
to  the  Gauls,  bishop  of  Paris,  and  finally  gained  a  martyr's 

In  the  Liber  Intro  duct  orius  Michael  seemed  to  associate 
alchemy  with  the  magic  arts.  In  his  Commentary  on  the 
Sphere  his  attitude  is  more  favorable.  After  citing  the 
fourth  book  of  the  Meteorology  and  other  passages  from 
Aristotle  to  the  effect  that  no  element  can  be  corrupted  and 

^  In  the  editio  princeps  of  1495 
the  marginal  heading  is,  "Quid  de 
planeiis  scntiunt  thcologi,"  but  in 
Odc  text  we  read  "  thrologi,"  which 

is  possibly  derived  from  "astiirol- 
ogi'  by  a  dropping  off  of  the  first 

the  Areo- 
pagite and 
the  solar 




Works  of 
to  Michael 

Elias  and 

hence  the  transmutation  striven  after  by  the  alchemists  is 
impossible,  Michael  explains  that  the  word  element  may 
be  taken  in  two  senses.  As  a  part  of  the  universe  it  is 
neither  generable  nor  corruptible,  but  in  so  far  as  an  ele- 
ment is  mixed  with  active  and  passive  qualities,  it  is  both 
generable  and  corruptible.^ 

Thanks  perhaps  to  this  passage  the  composition  or  trans- 
lation of  several  works  of  alchemy  is  ascribed  to  Michael 
Scot  in  manuscripts  or  printed  editions.  The  Quaestio 
curiosa  de  natura  Soils  et  Lunae,  which  was  printed  as 
Michael's  in  two  editions  of  the  Theatrum  Chemicimi,-  was 
apparently  written  after  his  death. ^  A  Palermo  manuscript 
contains  among  other  alchemical  tracts  a  "Book  of  Master 
Michael  Scot  in  which  is  contained  the  mastery."  *  In  at 
least  one  manuscript  Michael  Scot  is  called  the  translator  of 
the  Liber  Imninis  luminum,  of  which  Rasis  is  elsewhere 
mentioned  as  the  original  author.^  In  an  Oxford  manu- 
script a  De  alchemia  is  attributed  to  Michael  Scot.  It  is 
addressed  to  "you,  great  Theophilus,  king  of  the  Saracens"  ^ 
rather  than  to  the  Emperor  Frederick,  and  speaks  of  "the 
noble  science"  of  alchemy  as  "almost  entirely  rejected  among 
the  Latins."  Michael  Scot  mentions  himself  by  name  in 
it  rather  too  often  for  us  to  accept  the  treatise  as  his  with- 
out question,  while  the  allusions  to  "Brother  Elias"  the 
Franciscan  as  a  fellow-worker  in  alchemy  are  perhaps  also 
open  to  suspicion. 

We  find,  however,  another  suggestion  of  Brother  Elias's 
interest  in  alchemy  and  association  therein  with   Michael 

^  Edition  of  1495,  fol.  b-ii,  verso. 

*  Strasburg,    1622   and    1659. 

*  And  is  not  a  chapter  from  the 
Liber  Introductorius;  see  Brown, 

*  Liber  Magistri  Michaelis  Scotti 
in  quo  continetur  Magisterium, 
No.  44  in  a  MS  belonging  to  the 
Speciale  family.  I  have  not  seen 
the  MS.  It  is  described  briefly 
by  Brown,  78-80;  see  further 
S.  A.  Carini,  SuUe  Science  Occulte 
nel  Medio  Evo,  Palermo,  1872. 

°  See  bibliographical  note  at  the 
beginning  of  this  chapter. 

*  This  expression  occurs  in  the 
course  of  ~the  text  itself — Corpus 
Christi  125,  fol.  97r — in  addition 
to  the  words  scratched  in  the 
upper  margin  at  the  beginning  by 
another  hand,  "Michael  Scotus 
Theophilo  Regi  Saracenorum." 
The  conclusion  of  the  treatise  is 
in  a  14th  century  hand,  the  re- 
mainder in   a    15th  century  hand. 


Scot  in  the  fact  that  in  the  same  manuscript  containing 
the  translation  of  the  Liber  himinis  luminum  ascribed  to 
Michael  occurs  another  Liber  lumen  limiinum  which  Brother 
Elias,  General  of  the  Friars  Minor,  edited  in  Latin  for  the 
Emperor  Frederick.^  A  brother  Cyprian  translated  it  from 
Arabic  into  Latin  for  him.  In  view  of  the  later  interest 
of  another  Franciscan  friar,  Roger  Bacon,  in  alchemy  and 
the  supposition  which  some  have  entertained  that  he  was 
persecuted  by  his  Order  because  of  his  experimental  studies, 
this  reputation  of  Brother  Elias  as  an  alchemist  is  inter- 
esting to  note.  One  of  St.  Francis's  earliest  followers,  he 
succeeded  him  in  1226  as  General  of  the  Order.  Deposed 
by  the  pope  in  1230  on  the  charge  of  promoting  schism  in 
the  Order,  he  was  re-elected  in  1236  and  was  again  deposed 
by  the  pope  in  1239,  after  which  he  joined  the  imperial 
party  and  was  excommunicated  from  1244  until  just  be- 
fore his  death  in  1253.-  Brown  suggested  that  his  alchem- 
ical activities  were  alluded  to  by  the  pope  on  the  occasion  of 
his  first  deposition  in  the  words  mutari  color  optimus  aiiri 
ex  quo  caput  erat  compactum."  ^  But  if  Elias  was  an 
alchemist,  no  open  objection  to  this  appears  to  have  been 
made  either  by  the  pope  or  his  Order.  Indeed,  many  of 
the  alchemists  in  Italy  of  the  twelfth  and  thirteenth  cen- 
turies were  clergy  and  even  friars.* 

Brown  has  already  discussed  the  contents  of  the  Liber   Liber 
liiminis  hmiiniim   and    De   alcheuiia    (or,    alchimia)  ^    but   il^niinum 

erroneously  and  from  not  quite  the  same  standpoint  as  ours.    andDe 
TT     •  1      •  (<  1  r  )>      1  •  1      1       alchemia. 

He  mcorrectly  mterprets    the  secrets  of  nature     which  the 

writer  says  he  has  investigated  as  the  title  of  a  book  which 

has  formed  his  chief  source.®     Brown  also  states  that  one 

*  See     bibliographical     note     at  like     Roger     Bacon's     for     gun- 
opening  of  this  chapter.  powder.    At  p.  688  I  have  refuted 

'Brown,  p.  91,  citing  Wadding,  the  notion  that  Bacon  employed  a 

I,    109.  cipher   to   conceal   the   recipe   for 

'Brown,  p.  91,  note  2.  gunpowder. 

*Berthelot     (1893)     II,    74    and  °  In    his    fourth    chapter,    "The 

77;  Lippmann  (1919)  481.    I  doubt  Alchemical    Studies    of    Michael 

if  there  is  much  ground  for  their  Scot." 

further  assertion  that  such  clerics  *  If  the  title  of  any  book  were 
fell  easily  under  suspicion  of  meant,  it  would  rather  be  Mich- 
heresy  and  hence  wrote  in  ciphers  ael's    own    De    secretis    naturae, 


of  several  features  which  distinguishes  the  De  alchemia  from 
the  Liber  luminis  "is  an  early  passage  which  refers  to  the 
correspondence  between  the  metals  and  the  planets."  ^  But 
there  is  a  similar  passage  connecting  seven  metals  with  the 
seven  planets  in  the  opening  paragraph  of  his  own  printed 
text  of  the  Liber  limtinis  Imninnmr  The  latter  treatise, 
brief  as  it  is,  divides  into  five  parts  dealing  with  salts,  alums, 
vitriols,  spirits,  and  the  preparation  of  alums,  and  the  em- 
ployment of  these  in  transmutation.  The  De  alchemia  is 
less  orderly  in  arrangement  and  seems  largely  a  brief  collec- 
tion of  particular  recipes  for  transmutation. 
Their  Both  works  emphasize  the  secret  character  of  alchemy, 

character-    '^^^  ^^  alchemia  holds  forth  concerning  the  great  secret  of 
istics.  Hermes  and  Ptolemy,  and  tells  how  most  men's  eyes  are 

blinded,  and  to  how  few  the  truth  of  the  art  is  revealed. 
The  Liber  luminis  litminum  narrates  that  "when  the  great 
philosopher  was  dying  he  said  to  his  son,  'O  my  son,  hold 
thy  secret  in  thy  heart,  nor  tell  it  to  anyone,  nor  to  thy  son, 
unless  when  thou  canst  retain  it  no  longer.'  Wise  philoso- 
phers have  yearned  with  yearning  to  know  the  truth  of  this 
salt.  But  few  have  known  it  and  those  who  have  known 
it  have  not  told  in  their  books  the  truth  concerning  it  as 
they  saw  it."  ^  Both  works  also  are  largely  experimental 
in  form  and  in  the  De  alchemia  we  are  assured  more  than 
once  that  "I,  Michael  Scot,  have  experienced  this  many 
times."  *  The  books  of  the  ancients  and  past  philosophers 
are  cited  both  in  general  and  by  name,  but  a  black  vitriol 
from  France  called   French  earth  ^  and   a  gum   found  in 

since    he    not    only    says,    "Cum  in     another     alchemical     treatise, 

rimarer     et     inquirerem      secreta  Liber    Dedali    philosophi,    which 

naturae  ex  libris  antiquorum  phi-  Brown  printed   on  opposite  pages 

losophorum  .  .  .  ,"  but  also,  "Que-  to  the  text  of   the  Liber  luminis 

dam  extraxi  et  ea  secretis  nature  luminum. 

adiunxi.  .  ."  *  Corpus    Christi    125,    fol.    99V, 

^  P.  92.  "et  ego  multotiens  sum  expertus," 

*  P.  240,  "Et  notum  est  quod  si-  fol.   loor,  "Et  ego  michael  scotus 

cut  7  sunt  metalla  ita  7  sunt  pla-  multotiens  sum  expertus,"  etc. 

nete  et  quodlibet  metallum  habet  °  Brown,  p.  262,  "Vitriolum  nig- 

suum  planetam,"  etc.  rum     apportatur     de     Francia     et 

'  For  Latin  text  see  Brown,   p.  idcirco    dicitur    terra    f  rancigena. 

248.      The    same    passage    occurs  Cum    isto    mulieres    vulvam    con- 


Calabria  and  at  Montpellier  ^  are  mentioned  as  well  as  herbs 
and  minerals  from  India  and  Alexandria,  and  we  also  hear 
of  the  experiments  of  brother  Elias,  certain  Saracens  who 
seem  of  comparatively  recent  date,  and  of  the  operation  at 
Catania  or  Cortona  by  master  Jacob  the  Jew  which  "I  after- 
wards proved  many  times."  -  The  Liber  himinis  luminum 
often  speaks  of  "the  great  virtue"  of  this  or  that,  and  both 
treatises  make  much  use  of  animal  substances  such  as  "dust 
of  moles,"  the  urine  of  the  taxo  or  of  a  boy,  the  blood  of  a 
ruddy  man  or  of  an  owl  or  frog.  Five  toads  are  shut  up  in 
a  vessel  and  made  to  drink  the  juices  of  various  herbs  with 
vinegar  as  the  first  step  in  the  preparation  of  a  marvelous 
powder  for  purposes  of  transmutation.^ 

stringunt    ut    virgines    appareant.  istam    operationem    scilicet    apud 

Non  est  autem  magne  utilitatis  in  cartanam  a  magistro  jacobo  iudeo 

ista  arte."  et     ego     postea     multotiens     pro- 

^  Corpus  Christi  125,  fol.  ggr.  bavi.  .  .  ." 

*  Ibid.,   fol.    loor,    "Et   ego   vidi  ^  Brown,  p.  252,  for  Latin  text. 



The  man  and  his  writings — His  respect  for  science — And  for  ex- 
perimentation— Influenced  by  Christian  doctrine — Importance  of  his 
account  of  magic — Its  main  points  summarized — Demons  and  magic — 
Magic  and  idolatry — Magic  illusions — Natural  magic — Is  not  concerned 
with  demons — Some  instances  of  natural  magic — "The  sense  of  na- 
ture"— Magic's  too  extreme  pretensions — Wax  images — Factitious 
gods — Characters  and  figures — Power  of  words  denied — Use  of  divine 
names — Christian  magic — Magic  of  sex  and  generation — William's  con- 
tribution to  the  bibliography  of  magic — Plan  of  the  rest  of  this  chap- 
ter— Theory  of  spiritual  substances — Spirits  in  the  heavens — Will  hell 
be  big  enough? — Astrological  necromancy — False  accounts  of  fallen 
angels — Different  kinds  of  spirits — Limited  demon  control  of  nature — 
Can  demons  be  imprisoned  or  enter  bodies? — Susceptibility  of  demons 
to  the  four  elements  and  to  natural  objects — Stock  examples  of  natural 
marvels — The  hazel  rod  story — Occult  virtues  of  herbs  and  animals — 
Virtues  of  gems — A  medley  of  marvelous  virtues — Divination  not  an 
art  but  revelation — Divination  by  inspection  of  lucid  surfaces — Other 
instances  of  divination,  ancient  and  modern — His  treatment  of  astrol- 
ogy— The  philosophers  on  the  nature  of  the  heavens  and  stars — Wil- 
liam's own  opinion  and  attitude — Objection  to  stars  as  cause  of  evil — 
Virtues  of  the  stars — Extent  of  their  influence  upon  nature  and  man — 
Against  nativities,  interrogations,  and  images — Astrology  and  religion 
and  history — Comets  and  the  star  of  Bethlehem. 

The  man      We  now  come  upon  a  Christian  theologian  whose  w^orks 

writings       present  an  unexpectedly  detailed  picture  of  the  magic  and 

superstition  of  the  time.^     He  is  well  acquainted  with  both 

^  Gulielmi  Alverni  episcopi  Pari- 
siensis  mathematici  perfectissimi 
eximii  philosophi  ac  thcologi 
praestantissimi  Opera  omnia  per 
Joanncm  Dominicum  Traianum 
Neapolitanuni  Venetiis  ex  ofUcina 
Damiani  Zenari,  1591.  The  De 
universo  occupies  nearly  half  of 
the  volume,  pp.  561-1012.  My 
references  will  be  to  this  edition 
and  to  the  De  universo  unless 
some  other  title  is   specified.     In 

it — and  in  such  other  editions  of 
William's  works  as  I  have  seen — 
the  chapter  headings  are  often 
very  poor  guides  to  the  contents, 
especially  if  the  chapter  is  of  any 
length.  There  are  at  Paris  thir- 
teenth century  MSS  of  the  De 
fide  and  De  legibus  (BN  15755) 
and  De  universo    (BN   15756). 

The  chief  secondary  work  on 
William  of  Auvergne  is  Noel 
Valois,     *Guillaume      d'Auvergne, 



the  occult  literature  and  the  natural  philosophy  of  the  day, 
and  has  much  to  say  of  magic,  demons,  occult  virtue,  divina- 
tion and  astrology.     Finally,  he  also  gives  considerable  in- 
formation concerning  what  we  may  call  the  school  of  natural 
magic  and  of  experiment.     This  theologian  is  William  of 
Auvergne,  bishop  of  Paris  from  1228  to  his  death  in  1249, 
and  previously  a  canon  of  that  city  and  a  master  of  theology 
in  its  university.     Judging  from  his  age  when  he  received 
this  degree  Valois  estimates  that  he  was  born  about  1180. 
He  was  made  a  bishop  at  Rome  by  the  pope,  where  he  had 
come  as  a  simple  deacon  to  pursue  his  appeal  in  the  recent 
disputed  election.^     He  granted  the  Dominicans  their  first 
chair  of  theology  at  Paris  during  a  quarrel  of  the  university 
in  1228  with  Queen  Blanche  of  Castile  and  the  dispersion 
of  the  faculties  to  Angers  and  Rheims.^     He  took  a  prom- 
inent part  in  the  Parisian  attack  upon  the  Talmud  and  was 
perhaps  the  first  Christian  doctor  of  the  Latin  west  to  dis- 
play an  intimate  acquaintance  with  the  works  attributed  to 
Hermes  Trismegistus.^     These  facts  suggest  the  extent  of 
his  reading  in  occult  lore.     We  shall  consider  his  views  as 
expressed  in  his  various  writings,   "On   Sins  and  Vices," 
"Of  Laws"  (or  Religions),  in  the  frequent  medieval  use  of 
the  word,  lex,  "Of  Morals,"  "Of  Faith,"  but  especially  in 
his  voluminous  work  on  "The  Universe"  which  deals  more 
with  the  world  of  nature  than  do  his  other  theological  treat- 
Paris,    1880.     One   chapter   is   de-      1893.)     The  chapter  on  William's 
voted  to  his  attitude  to  the  super-      attitude  to   superstition   is  largely 
stitions   of   his   age,    and   goes   to      given    over   to    examples   of   pop- 
the  other  extreme  from   Daunou,      ular  superstitions  in  the  thirteenth 
HL    XVIII,    375,    whom    Valois      century,  supplementing  legends  of 
criticizes    for   calling   William   ex-       Brittany  and  other  stories  told  by 
tremely     credulous.       The     inad-      William     with     similar    anecdotes 
equacy  of  Valois'  chapter,  at  least      from    the    pages    of    Stephen    of 
from   our  standpoint,  may  be  in-      Bourbon,   Caesar   of    Heisterbach, 
ferred  from  his  total  omission  of       and  Gervaise  of  Tilbury.     Valois' 
William's    conception   of    "natural      citations   of   William's   works  are 
magic."     Valois  has  no  treatment      from    an    edition    in    which    the 
of    William's    attitude    to    natural      pages    were    numbered    differently 
science  but  contents  himself  with       from  those  in  the  one  I  used, 
a  discussion  of  his  philosophy  and  *  Valois  (1880),  pp.  9-1 1. 

psychology.     (See  also  M.  Baum-  *  Valois  (1880),  p.  53. 

gartner,    Die   Erkenntnislehre   dcs  ^  HL   18,  357. 

Wilhelm  von  Auvergne,  Miinster, 


ises.  Indeed,  in  the  sixteenth  century  edition  of  his  works 
he  is  called  "a  most  perfect  mathematician"  and  "a  distin- 
guished philosopher"  as  well  as  "a  most  eminent  theologian." 

His  re-  William  at  any  rate  has  respect  for  natural  philosophy 

spectfor  ,  ,  .       ./    .  .       .         ,  T  M     ,  . 

science.  and  favors  scientmc  mvestigation  of  nature.  Like  his  name- 
sake of  Conches  in  the  preceding  century  he  has  no  sympathy 
with  those  who,  when  they  are  ignorant  of  the  causes  of 
natural  phenomena  and  have  no  idea  how  to  investigate 
them,  have  recourse  to  the  Creator's  omnipotent  virtue  and 
call  everything  of  this  sort  a  miracle,  or  evade  the  necessity 
of  any  natural  explanation  by  affirming  that  God's  will  is 
the  sole  cause  of  it.  This  seems  to  William  an  intolerable 
error,  in  the  first  place  because  they  have  thus  only  one  an- 
swer for  all  questions,  and  secondly  because  they  are  satis- 
fied with  the  most  remote  cause  instead  of  the  most  immedi- 
ate one.  There  is  no  excuse  for  thus  neglecting  so  many 
varied  and  noble  sciences.^ 

In  another  passage  W^illiam  apologizes  to  the  person  to 
whom  the  De  universo  is  addressed  for  the  summary  and 
inadequate  discussion  of  the  stars  in  which  he  has  just  been 
indulging.^  He  knows  that  certitude  in  this  subject  calls 
for  a  most  thorough  investigation  and  requires  a  separate 
treatise.  Moreover,  his  remarks  have  been  in  the  nature  of 
a  digression  and  have  little  direct  bearing  on  the  question 
under  discussion.  But  he  has  introduced  them  in  order  that 
his  reader  might  see  something  of  the  depth  and  truth  of 
philosophical  discussion  and  not  think  that  it  can  be  de- 
spised as  some  fools  do,  who  will  accept  nothing  unless  it 

*  II-iii-20,  (pp.  994-95).  Yet  in  an-  not,   the   man   asked    if   he    could 

other  connection    (I-i-46,  pp.  625-  prevent  securing  it  if  God  willed  it 

26)    William  inconsistently  makes  and  the  magician  again  answered 

the   assertion   that   everything   de-  "No."     The  man  then  said  that  he 

pends  absolutely  upon  God's  will  would  commit  it  all  to  God.    Wil- 

alone  as  an  argument  against  em-  liam  does  not  seem  to  see  that  this 

ploying  magic  images  to  gain  one's  attitude    is    the    same    as    that    of 

ends.     He  tells  a  story  of  a  man  ignorant  persons  who  leave  scien- 

who,  when  a  magician  offered  to  tific    investigation    to    God    or    of 

secure  him  some  great  dignity  in  hungry  people  who  expect  God  to 

his  city,  asked  him  if  he  could  get  feed  them, 

it  against  God's  will.     When  the  '  I-i-44,  (p.  613). 
magician   admitted   that   he   corld 




And  for 

is  armed  with  proofs  and  adorned  with  flowers  of  rhetoric 
and  who  still  more  insanely  regard  as  erroneous  whatever 
they  do  not  understand. 

Thus  we  see  the  scientific  standards  of  William  of 
Conches  in  the  twelfth  century  still  influential  and  probably 
more  universally  prevalent  in  the  thirteenth.  Like  his  narne- 
sake  of  Conches  again,  William  of  Auvergne  states  that  our 
common  fire  is  not  the  pure  element,  since  it  is  largely  made 
up  of  burning  coal  or  wood  or  other  consumed  objects.^  He 
also  states  that  "innumerable  experiences"  have  proven  that 
moles  do  not  live  on  earth  but  hunt  worms  in  it.^  William 
is  aware  that  many  sailors  and  navigators  have  found  by 
experience  that  certain  seas  open  into  others,  and  as  another 
indication  that  all  seas  are  really  only  one  connected  sea,  he 
adduces  hidden  subterranean  channels,  and  mentions  the  re- 
port that  Sicily  is  supported  on  four  or  five  mountains  as  if 
by  so  many  columns.  Such  are  some  illustrations  of  the 
bits  of  scientific  information  and  the  trust  in  natural  experi- 
ment to  be  found  in  William's  work.  It  is  indeed  surprising 
the  number  of  times  he  alludes  to  "experimenters"  and  to 
"books  of  experiments." 

On  the  other  hand  William,  of  course,  maintains  such   Influenced 
doctrines  as  that  of  creation  against  the  Peripatetic  theory   tiando(> 
of  the  eternity  of  the  universe.     He  also  does  not  confuse   t^i^^^- 
the  world  soul  with  the  Holy  Spirit  as  William  of  Conches 
and  Theodoric  of  Chartres  had  done.^    More  important  than 
these  particular  points   is  the   general  hypothesis   running 
through  and  underlying  much  of  William's  thought  that  the 
Creator  can  interfere  again  in  the  course  of  nature  at  any 
time  and  in  any  way  He  wills. ^     The  atmosphere  of  the 
miraculous   and  the  spiritual   is  almost  constantly   felt  in 
William's  account  of  the  universe.     To  a  certain  extent, 
however,  he  evades  the  difficulties  between  science  and  re- 

"I-i-42,  (p.  608). 

^Ibid.,  (p.  606). 

'See  I-iii-31,  (p.  759).  See  also 
Valois.  304  and  M.  K.  Werner, 
Wilhelms  von  Auvergne   VerMlt- 

niss  z.  d.  Platonikern  des  XII 
Jhts,  in  Vienna  Sitzh.,  vol,  74 
(1873),  p.  119  et  seq. 

*  See    I-ii-30,    (p.    694)     for    an 
expression   of   this   view. 



of  his 
of  magic. 

Its  main 

ligion  by  holding  that  one  thing  is  true  in  philosophy  and 
quite  another  in  theology.  Thus  he  affirms  that  one  who 
says  that  the  stars  and  lights  of  the  sky  do  not  receive  ad- 
dition or  improvement,  speaks  the  truth  if  the  matter  is 
regarded  from  the  standpoint  of  natural  science,  for  nature 
cannot  add  anything  to  their  natural  perfection.  "Yet  you 
ought  to  know  that  learned  Christian  doctors  teach  .  .  .  and 
the  prophets  seem  to  say  expressly  that  they  will  undergo 
improvement."  ^  It  is,  then,  as  we  said  to  begin  with,  the 
account  of  magic,  demons,  occult  virtue,  divination,  astrol- 
ogy and  experimental  science,  of  a  theologian  not  ignorant 
of  nor  unsympathetic  with  science  that  we  have  now  to  con- 

William's  account  of  magic  is  a  remarkable  and  illu- 
minating one.  Most  of  it  occurs  in  the  closing  chapters  of 
the  De  iiniverso.  William  himself  there  states  that  nothing 
has  come  down  from  previous  writers  on  the  things  of 
which  he  has  just  been  speaking.^  He  admits  that  his  re- 
marks are  incomplete  but  he  has  at  least  made  a  beginning 
which  will  prove  welcome  to  the  reader.  Probably,  however, 
he  is  indebted  to  previous  Christian  writers;  at  any  rate  we 
recognize  some  of  his  statements  as  familiar.  But  he  also 
has  a  wide  acquaintance  with  the  literature  of  magic  itself — 
in  his  youth  he  examined  the  books  of  judicial  astronomy 
and  the  books  of  the  magicians  and  sorcerers  ^ — and  he  com- 
bines the  results  of  his  reading  in  a  sane  manner.  We 
feel  that  his  view  is  both  comprehensive,  including  all  the 
essential  factors,  and  marked  by  insight  into  the  heart  of  the 
situation.  For  his  time  at  least  he  sees  remarkably  clearly 
what  magic  is,  what  it  cannot  do,  and  how  it  is  related  to 
the  science  of  that  age. 

The  chief  characteristics  of  magic  as  it  is  depicted  by 
William  may  first  be  briefly  summarized,  and  then  illustrated 
in  more  detail.  He  constantly  assumes  that  its  great  aim 
is  to  work  marvels.    He  holds  that  often  the  ends  are  sought 

'I-ii-3i,   (p.  69s). 
•II-iii-23,   (pp.  1003-4). 

^Dc  legibus,  Cap.  25,  (p.  75). 


by  the  help  of  demons  and  methods  which  are  idolatrous. 
Evil  ends  are  often  sought  by  magicians.    On  the  other  hand 
the  apparent  marvels  are   often   worked   by  mere   human 
sleight-of-hand  or  other  tricks  and  deceptions  of  the  magi- 
cians themselves.    But  the  marvel  may  be  neither  human  de- 
ceit nor  the  work  of  an  evil  spirit.     It  may  be  produced  by 
the  wonderful  occult  virtues  resident  in  certain  objects  of 
nature.     To  marvels  wrought  in  this  manner  William  ap- 
plies the  name  "natural  magic,"  and  has  no  doubt  of  its 
truth.     But  he  denies  the  validity  of  many  methods  and 
devices  in  which  magicians  trust,  and  contends  that  marvels 
cannot  be  so  worked  unless  demons  are  responsible.     Wil- 
liam furthermore  constantly  cites  books  of  experiments  and 
narrates  the  feats  of  "experimenters"  in  discussing  magic, 
and  he  often  implies  a  close  connection  of  it  with  astronomy 
or  astrology.     Here  again  as  in  the  case  of  natural  magic 
we  see  an  intimate  connection  between  the  development  of 
magic  and  of  natural  science.     Finally,  these  various  char- 
acteristics and  varieties  of  magic  are  not  always  kept  dis- 
tinct by  William,  but  often  overlap  or  join.     The  demons 
avail  themselves  of  the  forces  of  nature  in  working  their 
marvels  and  their  marvels  too  are  often  only  passing  illusions 
and  empty  shams.      The  experimenters   and   operators   of 
natural  magic  also  deal  in  momentary  effects  and  deceptive 
appearances  as  well  as  in  more  solid  results. 

William  holds  then  that  much  of  magic  is  performed  by  Demons 
the  aid  of  demons  and  involves  the  worship  of  them  or  other  ^"*^  magic, 
forms  of  idolatry.^  One  reason  why  magic  feats  are  so  sel- 
dom performed  in  Christian  lands  and  William's  own  time 
is  that  the  power  of  the  evil  spirits  has  been  so  repressed  by 
Christianity.  But  the  books  of  the  magicians  and  of  the 
sorcerers  assume  the  existence  of  armies  of  spirits  in  the 
sky.2  In  the  necromantic  operation  called  "The  Major  Cir- 
cle" four  kings  of  demons  from  the  four  quarters  of  the 
earth  appear  with  numerous  attendants  according  to  the 
*  I-ii-2i,  (p.  680)  :  II-iii-7,  (p.  biis,  Cap.  24,  (p.  73)  :  II-ii-29,  (p. 
973)-  820). 

'II-iii-23,   p.    (1003):   De   legi- 


Statements  of  those  who  are  skilled  in  works  of  this  sort.^ 
William  has  also  read  in  the  books  of  experiments  that  water 
can  be  made  to  appear  where  there  really  is  none  by  use  of  a 
bow  of  a  particular  kind  of  wood,  an  arrow  of  another  kind 
of  wood,  and  a  bow-string  made  of  a  particular  sort  of 
cord.^  As  far  as  an  arrow  is  shot  from  this  bow  so  far  one 
is  supposed  to  behold  an  expanse  of  water.  But  William 
does  not  believe  that  the  bow  and  arrow  possess  any  such 
virtues,  and  hence  concludes  that  the  mirage  is  an  illusion 
produced  by  the  demons  and  that  the  ceremony  performed 
by  the  magician  is  a  service  to  the  evil  spirits.  Another 
writer  in  his  book  of  necromancy  bids  one  to  take  as  an  obla- 
tion such  and  such  a  wood  or  stone  or  liquor  on  such  a  day 
at  such  an  hour.  Here  too,  perhaps  because  of  what  he  re- 
gards as  superstitious  observance  of  times  and  seasons,  Wil- 
liam holds  that  the  word  "oblation"  covers  some  diabolical 
servitude  or  cult,  which  has  been  concealed  by  the  writers  of 
such  experiments.  He  also  states  that  sorcerers  and  idolaters 
often  go  off  into  deserts  to  have  dealings  with  the  demons 
who  dwell  there. ^  He  cites  "a  certain  magician  in  his  book 
on  magic  arts"  who  says  that  in  order  to  philosophize  he 
went  to  places  destitute  of  any  inhabitant  and  there  lived  for 
thirty  years  with  those  who  dwelt  in  light  and  learned  from 
them  what  he  has  written  in  his  book. 
Magic  and  In  his  treatise  De  legibus  William,   like   Maimonides, 

idolatry.  endeavors  to  explain  some  of  the  questionable  provisions 
and  prohibitions  in  the  Mosaic  law  as  measures  to  guard 
against  idolatry  and  magic. ^  Under  the  head  of  idolatry  he 
groups  not  only  the  worship  of  idols  proper  and  of  demons, 
but  also  superstitious  observance  of  the  stars,  the  elements, 
images,  figures,  words  and  names,  times  and  seasons,  begin- 
nings of  actions  and  finding  objects.^  In  another  passage 
he  adds  the  observance  of  dreams,  auguries,  constellations, 
sneezes,  meetings,  days  and  hours,  figures,  marks,  charac- 

*II-iii-7,    (p.   971).  *  See  Cap.  13  (p.  43)  and  before 

Ml-iii-22,    (p.  998).  'Cap.  23,  (p.  65). 

'' De  legibus.  Cap.  9,  (pp.  38-39). 



ters  and  images.^  Also  incantation  is  not  without  idolatry. 
Thus  many  features  of  the  magic  arts  are  condemned  by 

We  come  next  to  those  magic  works  which  are  "mock-  Magic 
eries  of  men  or  of  demons."  -  First  there  are  those  trans- 
positions which  are  accomplished  by  agility  and  hability  of 
the  hands  and  are  popularly  called  tractationes  or  traiecta- 
tiones.  They  are  a  source  of  great  wonderment  until  men 
learn  how  they  are  done.  A  second  variety  are  mere  appari- 
tions which  have  no  truth.  Under  this  head  fall  certain 
magic  candles.  One  made  of  wax  and  sulphurated  snake- 
skin,  burned  in  a  dark  place  filled  with  sticks  or  rushes  makes 
the  house  seem  full  of  writhing  serpents.  William's  expla- 
nation of  this  is  that  the  powdered  snakeskin  as  it  burns 
makes  the  rushes  appear  similar  in  color  to  serpents,  while 
the  flickering  of  the  flame  gives  the  illusion  that  they  are 
moving.  Possibly,  however,  this  may  be  a  defective  recipe 
for  some  firework  like  the  modern  "snake's  nest."  William 
is  more  sceptical  whether  in  the  light  of  a  candle  made  of 
wax  and  the  tears  or  semen  of  an  ass  men  would  look  like 
donkeys.  He  doubts  whether  wet  tears  would  mix  with 
wax  or  burn  if  they  did,  and  whether  these  internal  fluids 
possess  any  of  the  substance,  figure,  and  color  of  an  ass's  ex- 
ternal appearance.  He  concedes  nevertheless  that  the  semen 
has  great  virtue  and  that  the  sight  is  of  all  senses  the  most 
easily  deceived.  At  any  rate  "experimenters"  {experimen- 
fatores)  have  said  things  of  this  sort,  and  you  may  read  in 
the  books  of  experiments  a  trick  by  which  anyone's  hand 
is  made  to  appear  an  ass's  foot,  so  that  he  blushes  to  draw 
it  from  his  bosom. ^ 

The  work  of  necromancy  called  "The  Major  Circle"  is 
also  in  the  nature  of  a  delusive  appearance.  The  four  demon 
kings  from  the  four  quarters  of  the  earth  seem  to  be  ac- 
companied by  vast  hosts  of  phantom  horsemen,  jugglers,  and 

*  Cap.  14,  (pp.  44-45).  daemonum   nuncupantur. 

'II-iii-22,     (p.     998)   .  .  .  opera  '  II-iii-7,  (p.  971):  II-iii-12,  (pp. 

huiusmodi   quae   opera   magica   et  977-79). 
ludificationes     vel     hominum     vel 


musicians,  but  no  prints  of  horses'  hoofs  are  visible  after- 
wards. Moreover,  if  real  horsemen  appeared,  they  would 
be  seen  by  everyone,  not  merely  by  those  within  the  magic 
circle.  Another  common  apparition,  produced  by  "these 
sorcerers  and  deceivers"  by  means  of  sacrifices  and  other 
evil  observances  which  William  will  not  reveal,  is  a  wonder- 
ful castle  with  gates,  towers,  walls,  and  citadel  all  complete. 
But  it  is  seen  only  during  the  magic  operation  and  when  it 
vanishes  leaves  no  trace  behind.  William  compares  such 
illusions  to  some  fantastic  dream  which  leaves  behind 
nothing  but  horror  on  the  faces  of  the  participants.  He  ar- 
gues that  if  corporeal  things  outside  us  make  the  strong  im- 
pression on  our  senses  that  they  do,  it  is  no  wonder  if  spir- 
itual substances  like  demons  who  are  full  of  forms  can  im- 
press our  minds  potently.  It  will,  of  course,  occur  to  the 
modern  reader  that  such  illusions,  like  certain  marvels 
of  India,  were  perhaps  produced  by  hypnotic  or  other  sug- 
gestion. William  notes  that  illusions  of  this  sort  are  shown 
only  to  the  gullible  and  "those  ignorant  of  natural  science," 
and  that  necromancers  dare  not  produce  or  suggest  such 
phantasms  in  the  presence  of  learned  and  rational  men. 
Natural  There   are,   nevertheless,   occult    forces   and   powers   in 

magic.  nature  and  those  men  who  are  acquainted  with  them  work 

many  marvels  and  would  work  much  more  wonderful  ones, 
if  they  had  an  abundant  supply  of  the  necessary  materials.^ 
This  is  "that  part  of  natural  science  which  is  called  natural 
magic."  ^  "Philosophers  call  it  necromancy  or  philosophica, 
perhaps  quite  improperly,  and  it  is  the  eleventh  part  of  all 
natural  science."  This  rather  strange  association  of  necro- 
mancy with  natural  science  for  which  William  seems  to  apol- 
ogize, we  shall  meet  again  in  Albertus  Magnus  and  we  have 
already  met  with  it  in  Gundissalinus,  Daniel  of  Morley,  and 
Al-Farabi.  With  them,  however,  necromancy  was  one  of 
only  eight  parts  of  natural  science  or  astrology.  In  a 
third  passage  William  omits  mention  of  necromancy,  but 

^II-iii-2i,   (pp.  997-998)   natura-  *I-i-43,    (p-    612):    De    legibus, 

rum    vires    et    potentias    occultas,       Cap.  24,    (p.  67). 




again  asserts  that  certain  marvels  are  natural  operations  and 
that  knowledge  of  them  is  one  of  the  eleven  parts  of  natural 
science.^  It  is  with  it  that  the  books  of  experiments  are  es- 
pecially concerned.^  From  them  and  from  "the  books  of 
natural  narrations"  you  can  learn  "the  causes  and  reasons 
of  certain  magic  works,  especially  those  which  are  by  the 
art  of  natural  magic."  The  materials  possessed  of  the  mar- 
velous virtues  essential  for  this  art  are  very  rare  in  Europe, 
but  in  India  and  lands  near  it  they  abound,  and  hence  natural 
magic  flourishes  vigorously  there,  and  there  are  many  ex- 
perimenters there  who  work  marvels  by  their  skill. ^ 

Between  this  natural  magic  and  that  due  to  demons  Natural 
William  makes  a  decided  distinction.'*  In  natural  magic  '"ot^con- 
nothing  is  done  by  the  aid  of  demons.  The  workers  of  the  cerned 
one  are  called  magi  because  they  do  great  things  {magna  demons. 
agent es)  although  some  may  have  evilly  interpreted  the  word 
as  meaning  evil-doers  (male  agentes).^  And  these  others 
who  perform  such  works  by  the  aid  of  demons  are  to  be 
regarded  as  evil-doers.  William  indeed  perhaps  uses  the 
word  malefici  (sorcerers)  more  often  than  magi  for  workers 
of  evil  magic,  but  he  cannot  be  said  to  observe  any  such  dis- 
tinction uniformly.  He  does,  however,  express  his  intention 
of  setting  forth  "the  causes  and  ways  and  methods"  by 
which  even  the  phantasies  and  illusions  of  magic  are  pro- 
duced naturally,  but  of  "perditious  methods  such  as  nefari- 
ous sacrifices  and  oblations  and  sacrilegious  observances"  he 
intends  to  reveal  nothing.^  In  natural  magic  William  seems 
to  see  no  harm  whatever,  unless  it  is  employed  for  evil  ends. 
He  grants,  however,  that  some  of  its  works  are  so  marvelous 
that  they  seem  to  the  ignorant  to  be  the  works  of  gods  or 
demons,  and  that  this  has  been  one  cause  of  idolatry  in  times 
past.'^  So  in  order  that  Christianity  might  prevail,  it  was 
ordered  that  anyone  performing  such  works  should  be  con- 
sidered evil  and  a  sorcerer   {mains  et  maleficus),  and  that 

^ De  legibus,  Cap.  14  (p.  44). 

*  II-iii-22,  (p.  999). 
•II-iii-23,  (p.  1003). 

*  De  legibus,  Cap.  14,  (p.  46). 

"Il-iii-ai,   (p.  998). 
'II-iii-i2,   (p.  979). 
^ De  legibus.     Cap.  24,    (pp.  67- 



Some  in- 
stances of 

"The  sense 
of  nature." 

works  of  this  sort  should  be  regarded  as  performed  not  by 
the  virtue  of  any  natural  object  but  rather  by  the  aid  and 
power  of  demons.  But  specialists  in  such  matters  are  not 
"surprised  at  these  feats  but  glorify  the  Creator  alone  in 
them,  knowing  that  nature  alone  in  accordance  with  His 
omnipotent  will  operates  both  in  the  customary  manner 
known  to  men  and  contrary  to  custom  not  only  in  new  ways 
but  new  things."  In  another  context  William  again  af- 
firms that  natural  magic  involves  no  ofifense  or  injury  to  the 
Creator  unless  one  works  evil  or  too  curiously  by  that  art.^ 

One  example  of  the  marvels  worked  by  means  of  natural 
magic  is  the  sudden  generation  of  such  animals  as  frogs  and 
worms.  Here  the  natural  processes  of  generation  are 
hastened  by  applying  certain  aids,  and  William  does  not 
doubt  the  assertion  of  Emuth  that  by  mixing  seeds  new 
animals  can  be  bred.^  Other  phenomena  belonging  under 
natural  magic  are  the  marvels  worked  outside  its  own  body 
by  the  soul  of  the  basilisk  and  certain  other  animals  and 
certain  human  souls — a  hint  that  the  power  of  fascination  is 
natural  magic. ^  In  short,  all  use  of  occult  virtue  in  nature 
may  be  classed  as  natural  magic. 

Of  William's  statements  concerning  occult  virtue  we 
shall  hear  more  under  that  head.  But  we  may  note  here  what 
he  says  of  "the  sense  of  nature,"  ^  which  he  calls  "one  of 
the  roots  of  natural  magic,"  which  he  often  mentions,  and 
which  in  his  opinion  accounts  for  a  number  of  wonderful 
things.^  It  is  "a  sublimer  sense  than  any  human  apprehen- 
sion and  nobler  and  more  akin  to  prophecy."  By  it  one 
senses  the  presence  in  the  house  of  a  burglar  or  harlot  who 
is  otherwise  unperceived  by  any  of  the  ordinary  senses.  By 
it  some  dogs  can  detect  a  thief  in  a  crowd. ^  It  is  the  mys- 
terious power  by  which  vultures  foresee  the  coming  battle, 
sheep  detect  the  approach  of  the  wolf,  and  the  spider  that 

'I-i-46,  (p.  627). 
* De  legibus,  Cap.  24,   ((pp.  67- 

'I-i-43,  (p.  612). 

*  "Sensus    naturae,"   De   legibus, 

Cap.  27,   (p.  88). 

'See  pp.  875,  876  and  983  as 
well  as  the  following  reference. 
I-i-46,    (p.   624). 

*II-ii-7o,   (p.  870). 


of  the  fly.  William  tells  of  a  woman  who  could  feel  the 
presence  of  the  man  she  loved  when  he  was  two  miles  dis- 
tant ^  and  of  another  woman  who  so  abhorred  her  husband 
that  she  fell  into  an  epileptic  fit  whenever  he  entered  the 
house.^  In  the  main,  this  sense  of  nature,  seems  about  the 
same  as  what  other  writers  call  the  power  of  natural  divina- 
tion. William,  however,  in  several  cases  accounts  for  it  by 
the  strong  sympathy  or  antipathy  existing  between  the  two 
persons  or  animals  concerned. 

While  William  accepts  such  marvels  and  strange  forces,  Magic's 
there  are  many  claims  of  magic  which  he  refuses  to  grant. ^  tremepre- 
As  we  shall  see  later  he  sets  limits  even  to  the  powers  of  tensions, 
demons.  Much  less  will  he  allow  the  extreme  powers  as- 
serted of  human  magicians.  In  the  books  of  the  magicians 
appear  subversions  of  nature  of  every  sort.  They  would 
bind  fire  so  that  it  cannot  burn,  robbers  that  they  may  not 
steal  in  a  certain  region,  a  well  or  spring  so  that  no  water 
may  be  drawn  from  it,  and  so  with  merchants  and  ships. 
They  would  even  stop  water  from  flowing  down  hill.  Wil- 
liam contends  that  such  works  are  possible  only  by  divine 
miracle,  and  that  if  the  Chaldeans,  Egyptians,  and  Arabs 
could  really  accomplish  the  lies  in  their  books,  they  would 
have  conquered  the  world  long  ago.  Nay,  the  world  would 
be  at  the  mercy  of  any  single  magician  or  sorcerer  (magi  seu 
malefici).  William  then  raises  the  objection  that  if  two 
magicians  tried  to  gain  the  same  object  at  once,  the  magic 
of  one  or  the  other  would  prove  a  failure  or  they  would 
both  share  an  imperfect  and  half-way  success,  and  in  either 
case  the  promises  of  their  art  would  prove  a  failure.  The 
same  logic  might  be  applied  to  the  advice  how  to  succeed 
given  to  young  men  by  some  of  our  "self-made"  millionaires 
(are  they  tjiagi  or  maleficif)  who  have  exploited  natural  re- 
sources. William,  however,  goes  on  to  explain  that  the 
books  of  magic  say  that  not  all  artificers  are  equally  skil- 

*II-ii-69,  (p.  869).  M-i-46,  (p.  62s). 

'II-ii-70,  (p.  870). 





ful  or  born  under  a  lucky  star.  He  points  out  the  limita- 
tions of  Pharaoh's  magicians  in  much  the  usual  manner.^ 

William  not  only  denies  that  magic  can  attain  some  ex- 
treme results,  but  also  denies  that  some  of  the  methods  em- 
ployed in  magic  are  suited  or  adequate  to  the  ends  aimed 
at.  He  especially  attacks  the  employment  of  images  and 
characters,  words,  names,  and  incantations.  The  use  of  wax 
images  in  magic  to  harm  the  person  or  thing  of  whom  the 
image  is  made  seems  to  him  a  futile  proceeding.  He  will  not 
believe  that  Nectanebo — the  magician  of  the  Pseudo-Callis- 
thenes,  it  will  be  remembered — could  sink  the  ships  of  the 
enemy  by  submerging  wax  images  of  them.^  Such  magic 
images  possess  neither  intelligence  nor  will,  nor  can  they 
act  by  bodily  virtue,  since  that  requires  contact  either  direct 
or  indirect  to  be  effective.^  H  someone  suggests  that  they 
act  by  sense  of  nature,  he  should  know  that  inanimate  ob- 
jects are  incapable  of  this.^  The  only  way  in  which  the  oc- 
casional seemingly  successful  employment  of  such  images 
can  be  accounted  for  is  that  when  the  magician  does  any- 
thing to  the  image,  demons  inflict  the  same  sufferings  upon 
the  person  against  whom  the  image  is  used,  and  thus  deceive 
men  into  thinking  that  the  virtue  of  the  image  accomplishes 
this  result.^ 

Hermes  Trismegistus  speaks  to  Asclepius  in  the  Liber  de 
hellera  or  De  deo  deorum  of  terrestrial  gods,  associated  each 
with  some  material  substance,  such  as  stones  and  aromatics 
which  have  the  natural  force  of  divinity  in  them.*'  Hermes, 
however,  distinguished  from  natural  gods  "factitious  gods," 
or  statues,  idols,  and  images  made  by  man.  into  which  "the 
splendor  of  deity  and  virtue  of  divinity"  is  poured  or  im- 
pressed by  celestial  spirits  or  the  heavens  and  stars,  "and 
this  with  observation  of  the  hours  and  constellations  when 
the  image  is  cast  or  engraved  or  fabricated."  William  re- 
grets to  say  that  traces  of  this  error  still  prevail  "among 

*II-iii-22,  (p.  looo). 
'I-i-46,   (p.  625). 
n-i-46,  (p.  626). 
*I-i-46,   (p.  624). 

■1-1-46,  (p.  627). 
^  De  legibus,  Cap. 
II-iii-22,    (p.  999). 

2Z,    (p.  64) 


many  old  women,  and  Christians  at  that."  And  they  say 
that  sixty  years  after  their  manufacture  these  images  lose 
their  virtue.  William  does  not  believe  that  there  is  divinity 
in  stones  or  herbs  or  aromatics,  or  that  men  can  make  gods 
of  any  sort.^  Minds  and  souls  cannot  be  put  into  statues,^ 
and  William  concludes  that  Trismegistus  "erred  shamefully" 
and  "was  marv^elously  deceived  by  the  evil  spirits  them- 
selves." ^  He  also  calls  impossible  "what  is  so  celebrated 
among  the  astrologers  (astronotnos) ,  and  written  in  so  many 
of  the  books,  namely,  that  a  statue  will  speak  like  a  man 
if  one  casts  it'of  bronze  in  the  rising  of  Saturn.^ 

William  likewise  holds  that  characters  or  figures  or  im-  Charac- 
pressions  or  astrological  images  have  no  force  unless  they  figures, 
are  tokens  by  which  the  evil  spirits  may  recognize  their  wor- 
shipers.^ There  is  no  divinity  in  the  angles  of  Solomon's 
pentagon.  William  states  that  some  are  led  into  this  error 
from  their  theories  concerning  the  stars,  and  that  the  idol- 
atrous cult  of  the  stars  distinguishes  four  kinds  of  figures: 
seals,  rings,  characters,  and  images.*'  Such  are  the  rings  and 
seal  of  Solomon  with  their  "execrable  consecrations  and  de- 
testable invocations."  Even  more  unspeakable  is  that  image 
called  idea  Salomonis  et  entocta,  and  the  figure  known  as 
mandel  or  amandel.  So  excessive  are  the  virtues  attributed 
to  such  images  that  they  belong  only  to  God,  so  that  it  is 
evident  that  God  has  been  shorn  of  His  glory  which  has 
been  transferred  to  such  figures.  Artesius  in  his  book  on  the 
virtue  of  words  and  characters  asserts  that  by  a  certain  magic 
figure  he  bound  a  mill  so  that  the  wheels  could  not  turn.'^ 
But  William  is  incredulous  as  to  such  powers  in  characters. 
He  thinks  that  one  might  as  well  say  that  virtue  of  the  figure 
would  run  the  mill  without  water  or  mill-wheels.  H  the  mill 
did  stop,  it  must  have  been  the  work  of  demons.  Nor  can 
William  see  any  sense  in  writing  the  day  and  hour  when 
thunder  was  heard  in  that  locality  on  the  walls  of  houses  in 

^De  legihus,  Cap.  26,  (p.  82).  ^  Ibid.,  Cap.  27,   (pp.  86-87). 

^Ibid..  Cap.  27.  (pp.  84  ff.).  "  87). 

'II-iii-22.   (p.  999).  ^ Ibid..  Cap.  23,  (p.  65). 

*De  legibus,  Cap.  26,  (p.  84).  '11-111-23,  (P-  1003). 



of  words 

Use  of 


order  to  protect  them  from  lightning.^  It  seems  to  him  an 
attribution  of  the  strongest  force  to  the  weakest  sort  of  an 
incidental  occurrence. 

William  indeed  denies  that  there  is  magic  power  in  mere 
words  or  incantations.  Mere  words  cannot  kill  men  or  ani- 
mals as  sorcerers  claim. ^  William  argues  scholastically  that 
if  spoken  words  possessed  any  such  virtue  they  must  derive 
it  either  from  the  material  of  which  they  are  composed,  air, 
or  from  their  form,  sound;  or  from  what  they  signify.  Air 
cannot  kill  unless  it  is  poisoned  by  a  plague,  dragon,  or  toad. 
Sound  to  kill  must  be  deafening.  If  what  is  signified  by  the 
word  is  the  cause,  then  images,  which  are  more  exact  like- 
nesses, would  be  more  powerful  than  words.  William's 
opinion  is  that  when  sorcerers  employ  magic  words  and  in- 
cantations they  are  simply  calling  upon  the  demons  for  aid, 
just  as  the  worshipers  of  God  sometimes  induce  Him  to 
work  wonders  by  calling  upon  His  name. 

This  brings  William  to  the  delicate  question  of  divine 
names.  He  censures  the  use  of  the  name  of  God  by  "magi- 
cians and  astronomers"  in  "working  their  diabolical  mar- 
vels." ^  He  also  notes  that  they  employ  a  barbaric  name 
and  not  one  of  the  four  Hebrew  names  of  God.  They  for- 
bid anyone  who  is  not  pure  and  clad  in  pure  vestments  to 
presume  to  touch  the  book  in  which  this  name  is  written, 
but  they  try  to  gain  evil  ends  by  it  and  so  blaspheme  against 
their  Creator.  William,  however,  seems  to  feel  that  the 
names  of  God  have  a  virtue  not  found  in  ordinary  words 
and  he  states  that  not  only  servants  of  God  but  even  wicked 
men  sometimes  cast  out  demons  by  making  use  of  holy 

In  short,  incantations  possess  no  efficacy,  but  exorcisms 
do.  This  is  an  indication,  not  merely  of  William's  logical 
inconsistency,  but  also  of  the  existence  of  a  Christian  or  ec- 
clesiastical variety  of  magic  in  his  day.  He  will  not  believe 
in  Nectanebo's  wax  images,  but  he  believes  that  the  forms 

^De  legibus,  Cap.  27,  (p.  89).  'Ibid.,  (p.  89). 

'Ibid.,  (pp.  87-88). 




of  wax  which  have  the  likeness  of  lambs  receive  through 
the  benediction  of  the  pope  the  virtue  of  warding  off  thun- 
derbolts.^ He  denied  that  magic  words  had  efiftcacy  through 
their  sound  but  he  affirms  that  consecrated  bells  prevent 
storms  within  the  sound  of  their  ringing,  and  that  salt  and 
water  which  have  been  blessed  obtain  the  power  of  expelling 
demons.  William,  however,  takes  refuge  in  God's  omnipo- 
tent virtue  to  explain  the  efficacy  of  these  Christian  charms. 

Magic  appears  to  have  always  devoted  considerable  at- 
tention to  matters  of  sex  and  generation,  and  William's 
works  give  one  or  two  instances  of  this.  He  states  that  sor- 
cerers investigate  the  cohabiting  of  certain  animals,  thinking 
that  if  they  kill  them  at  that  hour  they  will  obtain  from  their 
carcasses  potent  love-charms  and  aids  to  fecundity.-  We 
are  also  told  that  men  have  tried  to  produce,  and  thought 
that  they  succeeded  in  producing  human  life  in  other  ways 
than  by  the  usual  generative  process.^  "And  in  the  books  of 
experiments  may  be  found  mockeries  of  women  similar  to 
those  which  the  demons  called  incubi  work  and  which  cer- 
tain sorcerers  have  attempted  and  left  in  writing  for  pos- 
terity." They  have  recorded  a  de